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How you can get involved in the Big Sky Community, part 2

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By Abbie Digel editor

Because Big Sky is an unincorporated town,
there is no local government. Instead, it’s run by
a group of diligent county districts whose decisions directly impact the community. This is the
second in a two part series that provides an over view of 11 different boards and shows citizens how to get involved.
To run for a seat on any of the districts below, contact the Gallatin County elections office, or visit its website to see current board vacancies.
Gallatin County Water Quality Control District
Created by the Gallatin County Commission in
1995 and approved by the Montana Board of Environmental Review in 1997, this district covers the middle third of Gallatin County and includes
the municipalities of Bozeman, Belgrade and
Manhattan along with Gallatin Gateway and the
Four Corners area. In 2010, it expanded north,
west and south to include Logan, Amsterdam, Churchill and Big Sky.
The goals of the GCWQCD are to provide
answers to water issue questions; serve as a re –
sources for water information; foster stewardship
and increase public awareness of water resource
issues; maintain a long-term water quality and
quantity monitoring network for collecting scientific
data on local water resources; and partner
with local groups, organizations, and governmental agencies to create a solid information network on water resource issues.
The district is governed by a nine-member Water
Quality District board of directors: one City
Council member from each municipality; a Gallatin
County Commissioner; a Gallatin Conservation District Supervisor; a Gallatin City-County Board of Health Director; and one “at-large”
citizen from each municipality who is appointed by his or her respective city council.
Get involved:
Board meetings are held monthly on the first
Thursday of the month at the GLWQD Office
on 1709 W. College St., Suite 104 in Bozeman.
Meetings are open to the public. For more information
contact Alan English, District Manager, at
(406) 582-3148.
Gallatin County Noxious Weed District
The GCNWD implements noxious weed management
programs for the protection of the open
space, natural and agricultural resources of Gallatin County.
Get involved:
In Big Sky, the Gallatin Big Sky Noxious Weed
Committee, formed in 2004 in response to the ex –
pansion of spotted knapweed and ox-eye daisy in
the Gallatin Canyon and Big Sky areas, is partner
to the GCNWD. The Northern Rocky Mountain
RC&D Area Inc., a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation, sponsors the committee.
The executive board currently has six seats, but
there is no limit to the size of the board. There
are four meetings per year. For more information
contact Jen Mohler, the Big Sky weed coordinator
at (406) 209-0905) or
Madison County Planning Board
This board affects most of the development and
subdivisons at the resorts in Big Sky. A summary
of MCPB ’10-‘11 activities include streamside
protection regulations; technical support for
board of County Commissioners; subdivision
regulations; building envelope changes; growth policy mapping and fiscal impact analysis completed; Parks and Recreation District formation;
and Big Hole River subcommittees on floodplain/mapping and landowner incentives.
In February or March the MCPD will be in Big
Sky to evaluate responses to its recent growth
policy. It will host a meeting, with the agenda
based on recent survey results, in order to ensure
the new policies reflect both the Big Sky and
Madison County communities.
The MCPB’s regular monthly meeting is on Jan.
30 at noon in Virginia City. Meetings are held on
the last Monday of every month, usually in Virginia City. All meetings are open to the public.
Get involved:
The MCPB has 11 board members, with one f rom each conservation district, and one at large member. Appointments are two years, and the MCPB will advertise open positions.
Its June 25 meeting will be in Big Sky. For more information contact the
MCPB office at (406) 843-5250.
Big Sky Mountain Trails, Recreation and Parks Special District
An interlocal agreement between the Madison and Gallatin counties will allow the two previous parks districts to be administered by one board and one budget, serving the greater Big Sky area. If passed, the cooperative districts will not have taxing authority. The intention is for them to be self-funded and work together with the Big Sky Community Corporation and other recreational entities to diversify funding opportunities.
The hearing for the final resolution of the district and interlocal agreementmwill be held Jan. 31 in Virginia City at 2 p.m.
Get involved:
If the interlocal agreement is signed, the new joint district will have two board members from each county, and one more member that can be f rom either county. The positions will be advertised 30 days af ter each county signs the interlocal agreement. For more information contact the County Commissioners’ Offices. For mountain district contact Madison County at (406) 843-4277. For meadow district contact Gallatin County at (406) 582-3000.
Gallatin County Big Sky Transportation District
This district coordinates transportation in and around Big Sky, serving tourists and residents, and connecting Big Sky and Bozeman. This district also monitors the Skyline Bus System.
Although there are no scheduled monthly meetings, the Transportation Advisory Council meets twice a year.
Get involved:
This district has a five-person board, with three Gallatin County and twoMadison County residents. There could be another Madison County seat. Board seats are appointed by the state for three-year terms
For more information contact Ennion Williams. (406) 579-7094
Gallatin Conservation District
Conservation districts are units of local government designed to help citizens conserve soil, water, and other renewable natural resources.
Conservation Districts in Montana implement the 310 Law, or the Natural Streambed and Land Preservation act, which works to minimize soil erosion and sedimentation and protects and preserves streams and rivers in their natural or existing state.
CDs also participate in their county planning boards and local Total Maximum Daily Load consultation. They also serve as local points of contact for numerous federal programs and educate landowners about sound conservation practices, tree planting and putting on outdoor classroom educational activities for school children.
Recently, the GCCD helped fund the noxious weed efforts in Big Sky, and continues to implement the a law that affects perennial streams.

Get Invovled:
The Gallatin County Conservation district currently has five supervisors from each area of the county, and can have up to seven supervisor seats. There can be an unlimited number of associate supervisors, although only seven have the capacity to vote.
Meetings are on the third Thursday of every month in the USDA center on Huffine Lane in Bozeman. There are seats up for election this November. To run for a supervisor position, start by attending monthly meetings and participate in the many volunteer opportunities. For more information contact (406) 522-4011

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