Splendor in the Grass

Beach, pond

Splendor in the Grass

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Harkin, Sue

The city of Bozeman is home to about 304 acres of parks -- those celebrated places where we loll about with the dog, spend lemonade-filled summer afternoons, and take respite from cubicles, commutes, and compression. They are more than the trees, grass, creeks, ponds, and other natural elements that make a park a park, though. Many also house playgrounds, stages, clubhouses, ice rinks, and other fun stuff. But what few people know about Bozeman's parks is that many of their features were created by volunteer organizations.

For instance, the Bozeman Pond, located on 16.5 acres just north of Huffine Lane on Fowler Lane, has been the project of the Breakfast Optimist Club since 1994. The group is part of an international community-service organization dedicated to helping local youth. In this park you can walk or bike on the trail system that surrounds the pond, play volleyball on the two sand volleyball courts, watch the dogs and ducks swim, or picnic in the large pavilion. More kids and families can also go fishing thanks to the new ADA-accessible fishing dock. And coming in October, the Bozeman Pond will be home to Bozeman's second climbing boulder. That project is spearheaded by a team of volunteers including noted local climber Conrad Anker and Recreation and Parks Advisory Board member David Cook.

Bozeman, pond, beach

In 1988 the East Gallatin Recreation Area's 82.96 acres became a park featuring a large sand beach just minutes from downtown. Much of the work on that park has been done by the Bozeman Sunrise Rotary Club, also a local chapter of a global volunteer organization devoted to volunteerism. The Rotary Club members have just finished constructing the park's first indoor restrooms and concession stand. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust helped design and construct the trail system. Dogs are not allowed at the East Gallatin, so the wildlife is plentiful.

Rose Park, located at West Oak Street and Woodland Drive, will soon be home to one of the best 18-hole disc-golf courses in the state. Most courses are carved out of existing parks, but Rose Park will be the first in Montana to be designed specifically for disc golf.

To check out the locations for any of the 33 parks listed on the Park Department website visit bozeman.net.

Sue Harkin is the city's recreation superintendent.

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