‘ALL OUT for Parks & Trails’ campaign to expand community parks, athletic fields and trails by 2026
By Jack Reaney ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Dog park. Turf fields for soccer and high school baseball. Mountain bike jump line. Skate park expansion. New playground. New tennis and pickleball courts. Twenty additional miles of trail.
These improvements to outdoor recreation are planned for Big Sky over the next three years.
At the Big Sky Community Organization’s annual Parks and Trails Gala on July 7, the organization celebrated 25 years of maintaining outdoor assets in Big Sky and announced new plans, created with input from the community during BSCO’s series of community forums in October.
Those plans, part of BSCO’s “ALL OUT for Parks & Trails” campaign, share a specific focus on expanding the local trail network, expanding and renovating the Big Sky Community Park and building a new 6-acre park in Big Sky near Town Center.
“BSCO’s top priority is to ensure the wellbeing and connection of our friends and neighbors here. This special 25th anniversary campaign deals with our legacy and enables much-needed improvement and expansion to our parks and trails,” BSCO CEO Whitney Montgomery told the audience in attendance at the July 7 gala.
Montgomery explained the three main focuses of the three-year strategic plan:
First, to enhance and grow the local trail network by adding 20 miles and continuing to improve trail connectivity.
Second, to renovate the Big Sky Community Park including “full-size and environmentally-sound synthetic” soccer and adult-sized baseball fields, a new playground, expanded skate park and pump track, and new tennis and pickleball courts.
And finally, to construct a new 6-acre park “providing athletic and park facilities in the south fork area of town, for the entire community to use,” Montgomery said.
He said BSCO’s underlying priority is to foster a community where everyone can thrive and be healthy.
“Over the last month we’ve already secured nearly $2.5 million towards our $10 million goal. Those funds have come from community members and from Resort Tax,” Montgomery said. He added that BSCO’s board of directors have all contributed to the campaign.
“I think we can all agree that the trails we have now are terrific,” said Tallie Lancey, BSCO board chair, in a BSCO video that Montgomery shared during his speech. “And we want to build upon the success of our existing trail network as we go into the future. We want to connect the mountain to the meadow to the canyon—we want to add 20 miles of trails, we’re talking about year-round recreation.”
“We’re coming to you now to support our work on parks and trails. Because we know that you’ve already made an investment here in yourself and your family. And this is an enhancement to that investment,” Lancey said.
“This is one friggin’ amazing place to live and play,” Montgomery declared, followed by applause.
Enabling a new team sport
Among the expansions to Big Sky Community Park, a 90-foot turf baseball field will host Lone Peak High School’s new baseball program.
In the Big Horns’ first season, they were unable to play home games due to wet and undersized home field.
“We’re thrilled to see this critical need for our community being addressed,” coach John McGuire wrote in an email to EBS. “Kids from T-Ball through high school will benefit massively from this much-needed upgrade to our community fields.”
McGuire added that the program is growing, “[and] we are really excited for the boys to have the opportunity to play on a real, regulation sized baseball field in Big Sky for the first time. It will be great to bring the community together for home games!”
“Having the community recognize and support the growth of youth sports, especially baseball, is both humbling and exciting,” coach Matt Morris wrote. “We hope to make an evening at the ballpark a fun summer option.”
Leslie Kilgore contributed reporting to the article.