A portion of a popular outdoor spot in Bozeman is up for sale, and the Gallatin Valley Land Trust is first in line to buy it.
The spot: Peets Hill, a place where families have come for years to celebrate the beauty of Bozeman from the area that overlooks the town. Forty-two acres is already protected land. The final area of 12 acres is up for sale.
“It’s such a gorgeous view of the whole valley,” said Collette Brooks-Hops. “It makes my heart sing to come up here.”
We met Brooks-Hops hiking the hill with her dog. She says she can’t imagine the area not being open to the community. “It’s like being in the wild area so close to the urban, and yet here you are.”
She wants to see this special spot preserved for the community to enjoy. That’s why she plans to donate to the Gallatin Valley Land Trust campaign to Protect Peets’ Final Piece.
“The open spaces are what make this place so important and especially places like this for our town,” said Brooks-Hops. “If there were houses down there, that would just ruin the whole spiritual outlook of that place where we live. This is the valley of flowers, not the valley of condos.”
“The first 42 acres of the area known as Peets Hill was the project that made our organization,” explained Chet Work of the GVLT. “The land trust skillfully negotiated a purchase and sale agreement to buy the last 12 acres by January of this year. We are doing that in partnership with the city. We are trying to pull in the necessary funds to buy it and put in some new trails and carry the project forward. The land trust is really close and the city is working to come up with the other half. We are close but we aren’t there yet.”
It's a project with a $1.6 million price tag. Work says the people of Bozeman have helped tremendously to chip away at the fundraising goal.
“We’ve received contributions upwards of $100,000 dollars and we’ve received money from kids who brought their lemonade sale contribution and their allowance,” said Work.
Chet says they are close to their goal but still have thousands to go to meet the agreement with the private landowner.
“Trails and this trail, in particular, seem to resonate more with people,” he said. “We’ve had more first-time gifts for this project than any project we’ve ever seen, people that have never given to our work but love Peets Hill.”
“The stories that we’ve heard of dogs loving this place, of this being the site of a first date, of a wedding, of a memorial service,” said Work. “We started saying that this was Central Park for Bozeman. If you look at what this has meant to people during COVID, for the hospital workers that come out to find some solace, this is a very important place,” he said.
The Gallatin Valley Land Trust has until mid-January to raise all of the funds.
The Kendeda Fund will also match all donations up to $5,000, up to $50,000 total. That means GVLT just needs $50,000 from the public to reach the goal.
So far we have not been able to get in touch with the private landowner who is selling Peets’ final piece.