BSWSD board helps fund conservation program, talks wastewater disposal


At its May 24 meeting, the Big Sky Water and Sewer District board passed a motion to contribute $10,000 to a water conservation program, provided the Big Sky Resort Area District tax board also approves a $40,000 ask.

The project, headed up by the Gallatin River Task Force, is modeled after a similar program in Bozeman that provides rebates for users who cut their water consumption.

Most of the program’s funding is set aside for water audits, and all BSRAD residents who participate would be eligible for a rebate.

In other news, BSWSD has not been able to meet wastewater disposal targets this month since cool, wet weather has prevented its plant from disposing of as much water on golf course irrigation as is typical in May.

BSWSD General Manager Ron Edwards said the system was designed to accommodate the wettest year in 10 years, not the wettest in 30 years.

“That’s the fragile part of this irrigation system. In some years it’s great, in some years it’s not so great.” He added that pumping wastewater up to the Yellowstone Club pond would resume within the next week.

BSWSD is also hammering out details of an agreement with Scott Altman, developer of a 46-unit affordable housing project near Ace Hardware. Altman is exchanging 1.4 acres of that property—which borders existing BSWSD land—for sewer capacity to service the development.

The board additionally discussed rate increases in their draft budget. A public hearing on the increases—4 percent for water and 7 percent for sewer over the next year—will be held at the board’s next meeting on June 28.

Celebrate Trails Day June 4 with BSCO


BIG SKY – Join the Big Sky Community Organization on Saturday, June 4, for a fun day of trail building and maintenance projects to improve the community trail system.

On the first Saturday in June, communities across the country participate in the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day by supporting the volunteer efforts of local trail organizations. The nonprofit BSCO has built, and manages, more than 16 miles of public trails in Big Sky and Trails Day is a great way for the community to join in an effort to enhance and preserve the local trail system.

Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. at the Big Sky Community Park, located at 373 Little Coyote Road, to join a variety of projects that suit all ages and abilities. After a day on the trails, volunteers will meet back at the pavilion by noon for a barbecue lunch.

The event is free and open to the public, and volunteers should bring gloves, sunscreen, water bottles, and trail-friendly footwear and clothing. Some tools are provided but additional shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows are welcome.

“Our community trail system is an integral part of life in Big Sky,” said BSCO Executive Director Ciara Wolfe. “Without the help of volunteers and philanthropy these trails would not be possible. This is one of the ways you can support our current trails and ensure future trails to come.”

For more information, call (406) 993-2112 or visit

Pedestrian dies after being struck by vehicle


Just before 9 a.m. on May 18, Wendy Larrabee, a 47-year-old Texas woman, was struck by traffic as she walked across the West Entrance Road in Yellowstone National Park. Bystanders started CPR immediately and rangers arrived within minutes, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Larrabee was traveling with friends and was reportedly crossing the road to take a picture of an eagle when the accident occurred.

The park advises visitors to use pullouts to stop and view wildlife. It is unsafe to park on the road shoulders and walk in or along the roadway, and drivers should slow down when moving through congested areas.

Assistance was provided by West Yellowstone Police Department, Montana Highway Patrol, Hebgen Lake EMS and Fire, and the Gallatin Valley Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone who witnessed the accident is asked to call Yellowstone National Park at (307) 344-2132.

LMR named in Nat Geo collection of ‘lodges that inspire’


BIG SKY – In mid-May, National Geographic elevated Big Sky’s oldest resort. Lone Mountain Ranch,
which in 2016 celebrates its 101-year anniversary, was named to the elite list of National Geographic’s
Unique Lodges of the World.

The Unique Lodges portfolio includes a total of 45 members on six continents. Launched in January
2015, the properties in the Unique Lodges collection offer a host of authentic and responsible travel

First homesteaded in 1915, LMR is among an exclusive group of distinguished properties whom have
each demonstrated a commitment to authenticity, excellence and sustainability, while offering
outstanding guest experiences that support the protection of cultural and natural heritage.

The ranch delivers authentic experiences that are life-inspiring, according to Paul Makarechian, CEO of
California-based Makar Properties, the real estate company that owns and manages LMR.

“Lone Mountain Ranch’s history, heritage and connection to the community, plus its unique position as
a gateway to Yellowstone National Park, creates a natural synergy with National Geographic’s mission
and purpose,” Makarechian said. “We are honored to be a part of the National Geographic family.”

Craighead to give wilderness presentation in Big Sky


One of the foremost ecologists in the region is coming to Big Sky in June.

Dr. Lance Craighead, executive director for the conservation organization the Craighead Institute, will give a presentation at the Big Sky Water and Sewer District on June 8, with a focus on the Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area located in the Gallatin Range.

Craighead will discuss the current ecological value of this WSA within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and focus on a recently completed analysis pinpointing seven key at-risk species: grizzly, wolverine, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, cutthroat trout, and pika.

Craighead plans to present the information Craighead Institute scientists found in the 2015 assessment and will use it to inform the upcoming Custer Gallatin National Forest Plan Revision.

“Using this report as a foundation, we hope to encourage local citizens to work within the Forest Planning Process and contact political leaders to protect this area in order to mitigate climate change impacts and protect wildlife for its economic importance in the region: protecting wilderness protects jobs and tourist income,” Craighead wrote in a May 24 email.

Craighead is a field ecologist, population geneticist, and GIS technician with more than 20 years of experience in conservation planning.

The presentation will be held at the Big Sky Water and Sewer District building on June 8 at 6:30 p.m.