New faces on the Gallatin River Task Force board of directors


JeNelle Johnson

Recently recognized for her GRTF volunteer work for “most pebbles counted,” Johnson decided to take her involvement to the next level, joining the GRTF board of directors in February. 

“I have been volunteering with the GRTF for the past three years and am committed to their goal of ensuring the Gallatin River flows with clean, cold, abundant water,” Johnson said of her new role with the organization. “Kristin (Gardner), her staff, the board members and volunteers have been great to work with and I’m excited to be on the board.”


Bill “BC” Collins

A love of fishing motivated Yellowstone Club’s vice president of sales to join the GRTF board. 

“I’m an avid fisherman and consider the Gallatin my home river,” Collins said. “I wanted to be part of keeping it as pristine as possible. I appreciate that the team looks at the river very differently and with more knowledge than I do in that they just know more about maintaining and conserving a resource that is so important to so many. I really look forward to learning more about how to protect the river and to try to help in any way I can.”

This is Collins’ first involvement on a community board of directors in Big Sky.

Johnson and Collins join board Chair Rick Donaldson, Vice Chair Rich Chandler, Treasurer/Secretary Mike Richter, and three other board members, Ron Edwards of the Big Sky Water and Sewer District, freelance photojournalist Rich Addick and outdoorsman Michael Jacquard. 

About the Task Force 

Today’s GRTF began in 2000 when a handful of community members were concerned about a proposed permit to release treated wastewater into the Gallatin River.

Four years later, a non-profit called the Blue Water Task Force was formed to help expand the water quality monitoring of the Upper Gallatin River Watershed. That effort resulted in no wastewater being released into the Gallatin.  

Since that time, the task force has continued to monitor the water quality of Big Sky’s watershed, in the process establishing a database on the health of the Gallatin and its tributaries. To learn more, visit


Results from American Legion oratorical competition

Post 99 of the American Legion and Squadron 99 of the Son’s of the American Legion in Big Sky recently hosted a local qualifying contest and the District 7 Oratorical Competition in the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center at the Lone Peak High School. 

We had four participants for the local contest and five local judges placed Carter Johnsen first. She then moved on to the district contest. Other contestants were: Maya Johnsen, Austin Samuels and Nick Brester.   

The district contest pitted Big Sky’s Johnsen against Garret Nielson of Bozeman. Nielson placed first in what was an extremely difficult contest to judge because of the excellent presentation of both contestants. Six local judges had a hard time selecting a winner.

Tony Coppola of the Son’s was the emcee and the district oratorical chairman. Ken McMillan gave the invocation. Randy Kemp, district commander, presented the scholarships and certificates along with McMillan after a winner was selected. Other American Legion officers to attend were Len Albright, zone commander, James Howe, Bozeman Post 14 commander and Post 99 Commander Ken Alley.

The contestants presented a prepared eight-minute speech on the U.S. Constitution without a podium or notes. Points were deducted for less than eight minutes and over 10 minutes. After the prepared oration, a specific topic was selected. The contestants were given five minutes to prepare a three-minute speech on the assigned topic—Article 2 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. Again, points were deducted for under three minutes and over five minutes. 

Garret Nielson will go on to compete in Great Falls on March 10. He can win up to a $1,500 scholarship and become eligible to participate in the national contest in Indianapolis, Ind., April 13-15. There he will have a chance to win $18,000, $16,000 and $14,000 for first, second and third, respectively.  

—Jack Hudspeth

Roads in Yellowstone begin to close for spring plowing 

Roads in Yellowstone National Park will begin to close to oversnow travel the week of March 4. Spring plowing will begin as road segments close. All oversnow travel will end for the season Thursday, March 15, at 9 p.m. Weather permitting, some park roads will reopen to automobile travel Friday, April 20.  

Road Closure Dates 

(Gates close at 9 p.m.)

· Sunday, March 4, the road from Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris will close.   

· Tuesday, March 6, roads from Norris to Madison and Norris to Canyon Village will close.

· Sunday, March 11, roads from Canyon Village to Fishing Bridge to Lake Butte Overlook will close. The road from Lake Butte Overlook over Sylvan Pass to the East Entrance closed on Thursday, March 1.

· Thursday, March 15, the remaining park roads will close.  

At Mammoth Hot Springs, the hotel, dining room, gift shop, and ski shop closed for the season Monday, March 5. The Mammoth Campground, Yellowstone General Store, U.S. Post Office, Medical Clinic, the Albright Visitor Center and self-serve fuel pumps remain open all year.  

At Old Faithful, Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins closed Sunday, March 4. The Bear Den Gift Shop, the Geyser Grill and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center will close Thursday, March 15.  

At Tower Junction, self-serve fuel pumps are available all year.  

The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner through Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana, is open to automobiles all year.  

 Visitors driving to and in the park during the spring should have flexible travel plans and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Temporary travel restrictions or closures can occur at any time. For the most current information on road conditions and closures, visit or call (307) 344-2117 for recorded information. 

In addition, sign up to receive Yellowstone road alerts on your mobile phone by texting “82190” to 888-777 (an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instructions).


Planning board concerned about Moonlight Territory

As Lone Mountain Land Company’s Overall Development Plan heads for the desks of Madison County Commissioners on March 13, it’s saddled with concerns about too much proposed density in a critical wildlife zone known as Moonlight Territory. 

Charity Fechter, Madison County’s planning director, said the advisory Madison County Planning Board granted the ODP conditional approval because, “It’s kind of a two-pronged thing.”

First, the planning board recommended a cap on total units at the original 1,651 approved in 2007.  

“They were requesting an additional 200 units,” explained Fechter. “And they want to put 100 of those in the area we consider the most critical, the most important for the wildlife connectivity. We just don’t think it’s a good location to put three pods” of 33, 33 and 34 units in Moonlight Territory.

“That was really ultimately the sticking point,” said Christina Calabrese, LMLC’s director of planning. “That’s where there was a difference in perspective.”

In documents provided to the Madison County Planning Board and County Commissioners, LMLC asserts the proposed additional units would be clustered on 424 acres, and that “represents just under 10 percent of the total 4,300 acres in the Moonlight Territory area. Further concentrating the density in the Moonlight Territory supports connectivity between the two (Lee Metcalf) wilderness areas. ”

This is one point LMLC may try to make when it goes before county commissioners, who have the power to approve or deny the proposed ODP and future subdivisions, including two current applications for property in Moonlight—one for an area known as the Overlook and another for Ulery’s Lake. 



More Information

Lone Peak Lookout

Cori Koenig, editor:
Susanne Hill, billing:
Erin Leonard, legal ads:
Ad orders, inserts, classifieds:
Comment Here