Give Big Gallatin Valley raises over $390,000 for area nonprofits


On May 3, nonprofits from across Gallatin County came together for the second annual Give Big Gallatin Valley fundraiser, the largest day of giving in the community’s history despite technical challenges.

Within hours of launching the event, the national online donation platform was overloaded by high traffic and crashed. The impact was felt across the country, but BACF quickly mobilized a team of volunteers to staff a call center at Foundant Technologies, set up a cash and check donation center at First Interstate Bank, and facilitated online giving through BACF’s and nonprofits’ websites.

Organizations throughout Gallatin County persevered to make the day a success. “We are incredibly humbled and grateful for our community and their grace, patience and ultimately their support of this year’s Give Big Gallatin Valley!” said Bridget Wilkinson, executive director of the Bozeman Area Community Foundation. “What an amazing success this initiative turned out to be – despite all odds.”

The total amount raised during the 24-hour fundraiser far exceeded the foundation’s goal of $300,000. More than 2,000 people donated to 132 local nonprofits, including a handful based in Big Sky.

Gallatin River Task Force had particularly strong community support, raising more than $18,000. Big Sky Bird Rescue, Big Sky Youth Empowerment, Gallatin/Big Sky Weed Committee and Women in Action also participated.

For more information on the event and the Bozeman Area Community Foundation, contact Bridget Wilkinson at (406) 587-6262, or visit or

WMPAC receives $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts award


The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center was granted an Art Works award of $10,000 to present the 2016 Big Sky Conservatory slated for July 3 to August 6. The award is part of $82 million the NEA has awarded to fund local arts projects and partnerships in its second major funding allocation for fiscal year 2016.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

“The NEA grant represents a new artistic high for us,” said WMPAC Artistic Director John Zirkle. “The Warren Miller Performing Arts Center finished construction just three years ago, and to receive a grant of this stature already for our programming is an incredible honor.”

The Big Sky Conservatory at WMPAC brings out a cohort of the country’s leading performing artists and fellows together in a sharply focused environment that encourages new work to emerge from a place of limited distractions.

The residencies simultaneously provide an educational experience for the fellows—who get to work one-on-one with Grammy and Tony Award winning faculty—and a platform for working artists who wish to develop and cultivate new projects.

The 2016 Big Sky Conservatory will focus on four distinct programs: dance, choral music, theater and strings music.

More information on workshops and labs and an application to the conservatory—due May 15—is available at

Montana proposes to triple wolf harvest near Yellowstone

By Matthew Brown Associated Press

BILLINGS (AP) – Montana officials want to triple the number of gray wolves hunters and trappers can kill in an area bordering Yellowstone National Park, citing complaints the predators are eating too many elk wanted by hunters and outfitters.

The potential change marks the latest turn in a years-long dispute that kicked off when endangered species protections for wolves were lifted in Montana in 2011.

Park officials and wildlife advocates argue wolves that spend much of their lives inside Yellowstone should be given special protections. But outfitters and hunters point to elk numbers that have fallen dramatically since the 1990s, when wolves were reintroduced in the park.

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks proposal would increase the annual harvest from two wolves to six in a hunting district near Gardiner. That would stabilize the population – most recently tallied at 24 animals – and keep it from growing, according to the agency.

It follows complaints from park scientists that even under a smaller quota too many wolves were being killed once they stepped into Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim says the agency has heard concerns from outfitters that the predators kill too many elk.

There’s no limit on how many wolves can be killed statewide. Hunters and trappers harvested 210 of the animals during the 2015 season.

Copyright 2016 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Chamber announces call for business awards nominations

The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce announced May 9 that it’s accepting nominations to recognize leadership and excellence in business within the community.

The chamber will accept nominations in four categories and announce the recipients June 15 during their annual meeting. Nominations can be delivered to the Big Sky and Greater Yellowstone Welcome Center or emailed to Margo Magnant at by 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 25.

Each year the chamber honors individuals and organizations that have contributed to the economic, social and cultural fabric of the Big Sky community. Nominations are encouraged in the following categories: Business Person of the Year, Business of the Year, Outstanding Frontline Worker, and the Chet Huntley Lifetime Achievement Award.

For the second year in a row, the chamber will name an Outstanding Frontline Worker, an award designed to honor an employee that has demonstrated a desire to go the extra mile in service to their customers.

The highest honor given by the chamber is the Chet Huntley Lifetime Achievement Award. The honoree will be an individual who has demonstrated leadership qualities, demonstrated willingness to serve others without personal gain and contributed to the economic wellbeing of the community.

The annual “Big Sky Big Idea” event will take place June 15 at Big Sky Resort at 6 p.m., with a keynote presentation from Gov. Steve Bullock. Tickets and sponsorships are available at

Lest we forget

Standing at just over 6,000 feet in elevation, the Soldiers Chapel, Big Sky’s first nondenominational church founded in 1955, will open for the summer season on Sunday, May 29 with a Memorial Day celebration.

The service will begin at 11 a.m. and feature music by the Chord Rustlers a cappella group as well as a special rendition of taps to close out the event.

Soldiers Chapel was dedicated in 1955 in remembrance of 81 fallen soldiers from the Bozeman area 163rd infantry regiment who died in the South Pacific during WWII. The 163rd was part of the Montana National Guard during the war.

“People have so many things to occupy their time,” said chapel boardmember Barbara Hoberecht, who has lived in Big Sky for 38 years. “And they forget the men and women who gave up their lives so we can have this beautiful site in this area.”

The chapel’s back window frames a clear view of Lone Mountain.

Soldiers Chapel will hold services each Sunday at 11 a.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day.