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Tell me, Tallie: Where is Big Sky, exactly?

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By Tallie Lancey EBS Columnist

Where is Big Sky? Well, it depends on whom you ask. In the 1960s, it was merely a twinkle in Big Sky Resort founder Chet Huntley’s eye. To Montanans, it’s all around us.

The Montana Annotated Code describes Big Sky as a “resort area” in southwest Montana. Local leadership characterizes Big Sky as an unincorporated census-designated place without municipal boundaries that straddles the Gallatin/Madison county line. It’s sort of a mouthful!

Delineating where Big Sky ends and the “real world” begins is nuanced, and storied. The community operates within seven distinct districts that deliver many of the services typically provided by a city.

In addition, there are more than 100 homeowners associations that keep Big Sky’s wheels turning. We can compare the federal census’s definition to the local real estate brokerages’ maps showing where you can live the dream. Big Sky itself is like a dream, its edges are hazy and its storyline zigs and zags.

The best way to answer the question at hand is to consult a map. Below is a guide illustrating the community’s assortment of locations based on the seven district boundaries.

In the March 3 issue of EBS, I will list each district’s board members, how their positions are determined, and a bit of history for good measure. In the future, I’ll address mapping, an issue near and dear to the hearts of local realtors. The U.S. Postal Service has yet another definition of Big Sky’s location: the zip code 59716. Stay tuned!

Tell me, Tallie, are you wondering why something is particularly unique to our community? You want to know and I’m eager to learn. This column commits to answering your burning questions about why Big Sky exists the way it does. Ask me at

Tallie Lancey is a broker with Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty and spends her free time serving Big Sky on the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center board of directors and in other various ways.


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