Installation of Big Sky’s second traffic signal in progress

BIG SKY COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION

Installation of a traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalks at Ousel Falls Road and Lone Mountain Trail/Highway 64 started on May 22. The project is expected to take up to 30 days to complete, at which time the Montana Department of Transportation will turn on the signal, allowing it to flash for three to five days before being fully operational. BSCO advises motorists to drive with caution in this area and expect traffic delays during peak traffic times.

Final plans were approved by the MDT and funding was secured from the Big Sky Resort Area District tax along with donations from Lone Mountain Land Company, Yellowstone Club and Town Center. The traffic signal will improve safety for pedestrians and motorists, and will enhance the flow of traffic through the intersection as construction and tourist traffic continues to grow.

For more information, call (406) 993-2112 or visit bscomt.org/hike-bike/trail-projects/.

Britt Ide succeeds Casey Schwartz as head of local foundation

YELLOWSTONE CLUB COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

The Yellowstone Club Community Foundation is pleased to announce the hiring of Britt Ide as its new executive director, effective June 1. Ide succeeds K. Casey Schwartz, the organization’s founding executive director. Schwartz will remain as a consultant to the foundation.

“This is a very exciting time, a time of growth and change, for Big Sky,” said Sam Byrne, president of the foundation’s board of directors. “This time of transition provides an ideal opportunity to welcome Britt as the new leader for the foundation.”

“I am delighted for this role to build on the foundation’s outstanding work supporting our community,” Ide said. “Big Sky and Gallatin Valley are extremely special places. My family has lived in, enjoyed and benefitted from this area for five generations.”

Ide is a Big Sky resident and an attorney. She is a board director of the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce and recently has served as the chamber’s interim CEO. She has provided legal counsel, policy formulation, fund development, stakeholder engagement and communication for corporations and business owners, boards, nonprofits and elected officials.

As president of Ide Energy & Strategy, Ide developed energy policy, strategy, sustainability reporting, stakeholder engagement and communications for clients from local agriculture to public mining exploration. Ide also serves on the Board of Directors of Northwestern Energy.

Ide earned a Bachelor of Science from Ohio State University, a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from Montana State University and a law degree from the University of Utah College of Law. She moved back to Montana two years ago with her husband and two children.

The Yellowstone Club Community Foundation is supported by Yellowstone Club Members, guests and the local community. It offers two grant cycles per year and has awarded more than $3 million to local nonprofits since its founding in 2010.

Host Week discount program runs June 2-13

EBS STAFF

Host Week is a collaborative effort between Big Sky and West Yellowstone providing free or greatly reduced offers to front line hospitality workers so that they may learn more about the area in order to better serve visitors and “be the best hosts they can be.”

This year, Host Week runs Friday, June 2, through Monday, June 13.

Many front line workers, such as front desk associates, concierges, servers, bartenders and all manners of guides, are newly arrived employees for the summer season. Many come from out of state and have little knowledge about Big Sky and the surrounding region.

The aim of Host Week is to educate those workers on the variety of things to see and do in the area beyond their immediate place of business. That way, if a guest checks into a hotel and asks the front desk worker what it’s like to raft the Gallatin River, the employee can provide their first-hand experience of the trip.

Employees who receive a Host Week Passbook, typically from their employer, can use the coupons to take advantage of free options that include dinner at the 320 Ranch, horseback riding at Jake’s Horse, a half-day rafting trip with Geyser Whitewater, ziplining with Yellowstone Aerial Adventures, entrance to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and many more complimentary and steeply discounted activities and amenities in Big Sky, West Yellowstone and the Gallatin Canyon.

Now in its fifth year, Host Week has become a popular program in both Big Sky and West Yellowstone, and has won recognition on the state level. Big Sky and West Yellowstone won the Gateway Community of the Year at the 2015 Montana Office of Tourism & Business Development’s Governors Conference for its collaborative efforts.

In 2016, 1,500 passbooks with 36 offers were distributed to front line employees. In addition to educating front line workers, local businesses see an increase in early season business with Host Week participants redeeming offers.

Host Week is a collaborative effort intended to benefit businesses, staff and visitors. The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce and the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce’s aim is to create educated ambassadors for its communities with the Host Week Program.

Employees interested in obtaining a Host Week Passbook are encouraged to inquire with their employers. Visit bigskychamber.com for more information.

Chamber awards nomination deadline June 7

EBS STAFF

The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce awards will be presented at the chamber’s annual dinner on Sunday, June 25, at Big Sky Resort and the deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7.

Sen. Steve Daines will give the keynote speech at the chamber’s 20th annual event. An update on the state of the local economy will also be given to provide specific information on projects, economic development efforts, and the business outlook prior to the senator’s address.

Winners of last year’s awards were: Dr. Jeff Daniels of the Medical Clinic of Big Sky (Chet Huntley Lifetime Achievement Award); The Hungry Moose Market & Deli (Business of the Year); Marie Rapp from American Bank (Outstanding Frontline Worker); and Big Sky Build’s John Seelye (Business Person of the Year).

Visit bigskychamber.com/about/annual-chamber-awards to nominate Big Sky individuals or businesses.

Park prepares visitors for busy summer with Yellowstone Pledge

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

Summer is Yellowstone’s most popular season and visitors should expect busy facilities and destinations, as well as delayed travel times due to heavy traffic and wildlife jams. Try to arrive early or stay late and avoid main attractions during peak hours, including Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Norris Geyser Basin.

“More than half of the record 4.25 million visits in 2016 took place during June, July and August,” said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk. “Whether you are visiting Yellowstone for the first time or the 50th, we hope you’ll take the Yellowstone Pledge and plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable trip.”

The Yellowstone Pledge is a personal promise you can make to yourself and the park. It can be taken anywhere—at home, in your car or in front of your bathroom mirror—and now it’s available in 10 languages. The park also encourages visitors to tag their social media photos with #YellowstonePledge.

To find the Yellowstone Pledge, visit https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/yellowstonepledge.htm.