By Eric Ladd
Explore Big Sky Publisher

With the flip-flop months upon southwest Montana, it’s hard not to notice all the fun outdoor activities taking place throughout our community.

In Big Sky, we have some exciting success to report and celebrate with the continued growth of our park and trail developments. During the past eight years, the Big Sky Community Corp. has embarked on an ambitious multi-million dollar effort to build a community park and expand its trails network.

The success of BSCC’s work has become a focal point for Big Sky. Hundreds of people gather daily at the new community park, and trailheads are overflowing with hikers and bikers. Some great examples of the momentum of BSCC’s efforts include a co-ed softball league that has 17 teams, a new little league, a soccer league, a world-class skate park, and the Ousel Falls parking lot that is logging record numbers for a Gallatin Valley trailhead.

In 2014, BSCC will open nearly five miles of new trails starting in the Big Sky Town Center with a master plan that will tie together the Mountain Village, Town Center, Community Park and Ousel Falls. The parks and trails efforts in Big Sky are a great example of the need to protect landscape and create facilities that encourage outdoor gatherings and adventures, which are good for both social and economic growth in our communities.

But ambitious efforts don’t come cheap and people are often confused about where funding comes from to build and maintain these facilities, especially for a community that doesn’t have an organized government and/or funded park district. The answer: donations and grants.

On July 19, BSCC is hosting its annual Gala where 100 percent of the proceeds go to benefit the future growth of parks and trails in Big Sky. This evening includes a catered dinner, live and silent auctions and fun music. Tickets for this event are limited, so if you’re a lover of parks and trails, please come out and show your support.

Donors that cannot attend the Gala but are interested in supporting BSCC should strongly consider making a meaningful contribution – the faster the money comes in, the faster trails will be built. Ticket information can be found at bsccmt.org or by calling (406) 993-2112.

Let’s hope that as southwest Montana embarks on the next construction growth spurt, groups like BSCC, land trusts and conservation groups will continue to garner community support to protect this cherished place we call home.