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News in brief: Dec. 7, 2018



BSSHA to implement refrigeration for ice rink in Town Center


The Big Sky Skating and Hockey Association confirmed that they have raised the funds necessary for a refrigeration system at the ice facility they operate each winter in the Town Center Park. According to Gary Hermann, vice president of the BSSHA, the organization expects to have enough components in place in the coming weeks to operate a refrigeration system for the 2018-2019 season. He emphasized that these steps only constitute the first phase of the overall refrigeration plan. Some aspects, such as encasing pipes in a concrete slab, cannot be achieved until they raise additional funds.

Support for the refrigeration project comes from a wide range of sources, including individuals, businesses, and foundations both in and outside Big Sky. According to Ryan Blechta, president of the BSSHA, an essential starting point was a commitment from the Big Sky Resort Area District tax board to provide $197,500 if the BSSHA first raised $111,500.

“Once we raised enough money to make people believe that we had a good chance of raising the money needed to obtain the resort tax match, the community overwhelmingly responded,” Blechta said.

Since June, the BSSHA has received a record amount of donations, which have been key to covering unexpected costs of site preparation, according to Blechta. He also believes that a critical piece of completing the first phase of their project has been the assistance of a virtual army of volunteers, including some local contractors, who have donated both time and materials.

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Task force welcomes new development director


Ryan Newcomb stepped into his role as the first full-time development director for the Gallatin River Task Force on November 15. The new position was supported through a capital campaign contribution made possible by a public-private partnership between the Yellowstone Club and Madison County.

Newcomb joins the task force from Washington, D.C. and brings ten years of experience fundraising for various organizations including the Boy Scouts of America and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. As a member of the task force leadership team, he will create and implement fundraising strategies to support the organization’s mission and strategic plan, which revolves around stewardship of the Gallatin River watershed.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Ryan join our team in a role that the task force has needed for quite some time,” GRTF Executive Director Kristin Gardner said. “And we are incredibly grateful for the visionary gift from the Yellowstone Club and Madison County that will undoubtedly have a long-lasting impact on our organization and ultimately the future of the Gallatin River.”

The Yellowstone Club and Madison County fully funded the position through the Gallatin River Forever Campaign, a drive to monitor, repair, and improve the Gallatin and its tributaries to ensure the long-term health of the watershed.

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Yellowstone opens for winter season Dec. 22


Beginning on Dec. 15, pending snow conditions, permitted snowmobilers and visitors on guided trips will begin exploring Yellowstone’s Winter Wonderland. The majority of roads are slated to open to oversnow travel by snowmobile and snowcoach at 8 a.m., while the road from the East Entrance to Lake Butte Overlook will open Dec. 22.

The winter season transforms Yellowstone into a white, frigid world with fewer crowds and steaming geyser basins. While access is more limited than it is during the warmer months, there are still a variety of ways to enjoy the nation’s first national park.

For those wishing to snowshoe or ski, there are miles of trails, though they are seldom groomed. There is a selection of warming huts open throughout the season, some of which offer light snacks and hot drinks to skiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers. Many ski trails are accessible at the North and West entrances, while others can be reached via a skier shuttle on certain days of the week.

Those successful in drawing a permit as a part of the Noncommercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program can explore the park with relative ease. Permit holders may enter and travel on designated roads with a certified New Best Available Technology snowmobile that is designed to release fewer emissions and operate at quieter levels.

While most facilities are closed during the winter, the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel remain open for overnight guests. Reservations for these, as well as guided winter snowmobile and snowcat tours, can be made online.

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Yellowstone Club Community Foundation grants


The Yellowstone Club Community Foundation extended its commitment to the region’s nonprofit sector through its annual fall grant cycle. This autumn, over $265,000 was awarded to 26 local groups. The foundation members are excited to announce that with the release of these grants, they have donated over $5 million to the Big Sky and Gallatin Valley communities since inception in 2010.

Reinforcing its focus in education, healthcare, conservation, community services, and arts and culture, the foundation’s latest grants support the following: Big Sky Youth Empowerment; Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center; The Arts Council of Big Sky Big Sky youth arts education partnership; Montana Land Reliance’s landscape conservation program; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Gallatin County Big Sky; Morningstar Learning Center’s family assistance and professional development programs; Warren Miller Performing Arts Center; Human Resource Development Council’s Big Sky down payment assistance program; Big Sky Skating and Hockey Association’s rink relocation project; and Big Sky Community Food Bank’s community coatroom and wellness services.

The foundation will also partner with Bozeman Area Community Foundation to support Give Big Gallatin Valley. The 24-hour online giving campaign will take place May 2, 2019, while nonprofit registration opens on Feb. 4.

The Yellowstone Club Community Foundation accepts donations from Yellowstone Club members and guests as well as local community members. It stages three annual fundraisers, the summer Weiskopf Cup golf event, the March Wine and Song Benefit, and the “Name That Run” auction.

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