Bozeman has always been a draw for mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts. For many years, it was a secret, known only to those who spent their time tucked up in the Rocky Mountains, with deep snowfall, miles of trails, and seemingly endless elbow room. Ease of access, remote work opportunities, and an exodus of people from the cities have brought new residents and visitors to Montana in droves.
With more people comes increased trail use, which can lead to frustration when people are looking to enjoy the quiet of nature. Seeing the increased tensions on the trail, along with the effects of increased use without proper care of the trails, prompted One Montana, which works to bridge urban and rural divides, to partner with other stakeholders in the outdoor community to band together and create messaging to educate the public on a shared commitment to stewardship and etiquette in our outdoors.
The group is comprised of One Montana, Gallatin Valley Land Trust, Bridger Ski Foundation, Friends of Hyalite, Queers, and Camo, along with the City of Bozeman, Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce, US Forest Service, Run Dog Run, Southwest Montana Mountain Biking Association, and the Winter Wildlands Alliance. Together, they are working to protect the people and places they love by addressing ethical use issues, such as how to enjoy the outdoors while sharing it with others and how to tread lightly on our natural resources.
Together, they are helping organizations streamline their message about outdoor etiquette and to educate new and long-time residents about how to be Outside Kind, including, Hike Kind, Ski Kind, Ride Kind and Wag Kind. Signage, SWAG, social media campaigns, blogs, and personal outreach are all components of the campaign, with volunteers even setting up a coffee and cocoa stand at trailheads to reach out to the public.
Educational messages focus on things like walking through mud puddles on trails instead of walking around and how walking around creates social pathways that spread noxious weeds and kill wildflowers—or hiking in the morning before the ground thaws. Or the importance of keeping dogs away from cross-country skiers and packing out your dog poop.
- Saying hello when you pass people on the trail.
- Being aware.
- Sharing the trail.
- Respecting landowners.
- Leaving no trace on the trails.
If you or your business would like to participate, you can download a sign for your business or yard, provide discount coupons for those who sign the Outside Kind Pledge, sell Outside Kind gear, or donate to support the campaign. (www.outsidekind.org)
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