During a Dec. 14 business luncheon in Bozeman, Sam Byrne, co-founder of CrossHarbor Capital Partners – principle owner of the exclusive Yellowstone Club – spoke about the explosive growth the Big Sky area is seeing. Then he referenced the future.
“We expect to continue to add approximately 90 [Yellowstone Club] members per year over the course of the next three years,” Byrne told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. He went on to add that CrossHarbor has identified 11 Big Sky hotel sites to build on in the next 15-20 years. This is in addition to large-scale projects Lone Mountain Land Company – the development arm of CrossHarbor – currently has under way at Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, Moonlight Basin, the Big Sky Resort base area and Town Center.
Toward the end of the luncheon, Byrne showed a different side of his personality after praising the local Big Sky community and the massive development opportunity that exists in this small, unincorporated town. “The two things that keep me up at night,” Byrne said. “ … one, that we don’t ruin it … the second one is construction.”
Growth is natural. In middling communities, in major cities, and in ski towns, businesses and developers succeed by identifying a need in a particular area, and meeting that demand. But being deliberate with how development transpires, and deciding what we, as a community, are willing to risk, is key to the future.
Big Sky is approximately 40 percent built out. Affordable housing is a massive problem. The water and sewer district is reaching capacity. Traffic in the Big Sky area is reaching a boiling point (see page 6).
And what’s at stake? The water quality in the Gallatin River and its tributaries; the trails we hike; the wildlife we see; all the reasons we live here.
Development isn’t the problem, necessarily. The term “responsible development” is thrown around, but it must be taken seriously. Are we planning the future of the Big Sky area in the best manner we can? Are we too greedy? Can we share the last best place with newcomers, as well as the nature and wildlife that define Big Sky?
Perhaps we can have our cake and eat it too. But we must be steadfast in our collective mindset. We don’t want to ruin it.
Explore Big Sky encourages readers to engage in the discussion of Big Sky’s future and we can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (406) 995-2055.