News & Notes— Summer 2014

News & Notes— Summer 2014

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Bowled Over:

In March, a 259-acre property just north of Bridger Bowl changed hands from California-based Bridger Canyon Partners to the Jackson Financial Group, a Montana LLC established in April 2014 whose principal address is in Chicago. The property was sold at an auction administered by New York–based Concierge Auctions and the purchase price has not been revealed.

Because of its prime location—tucked between Bohart Ranch and Bridger Bowl—and limited zoning restrictions, many Bozemanites suspect the land will be developed. “We hoped for a buyer that would hold the property in conservation,” says Bridger Canyon Property Owners Association board chairman Tom Fiddaman. “But development seems more likely.”

More imminent change is also coming to Bridger Bowl: cell service. In an effort to bring mobile service to the ski area and Bridger Canyon in general, county commissioners are expected to accept an amendment to current zoning regulations. The amendment would create a framework that defines a cell tower, according to Fiddaman. “Approval is a slam-dunk,” he says.

Instead of the one tall tower providers had originally planned for, they plan to install two shorter towers at the base area, a project that, pending approval, would be complete in time for opening day 2014. —David Tucker


New North Entrance:

Gardiner’s Roosevelt Arch, dedicated by Theodore Roosevelt himself in 1903 at the North Entrance of Yellowstone Park, stands as a symbol of America’s National Park System, with the words “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People” cast in stone. Since Teddy’s time, however, much has changed and today the arch can be a traffic bottleneck and source of congestion for the small town of Gardiner—neither beneficial nor enjoyable.

In 2013, $10.3 million in federal funding was approved to relieve traffic congestion and improve safety at the historic site. With matching funds from the NPS and Park County, the total project funding is nearly $12 million. Its working name is the Gardiner Gateway Project.

Improvements will include new roads and sidewalks in downtown Gardiner, an arch bypass road, new North Entrance station, improved drainage and utility upgrades, plus an arch-viewing park, Yellowstone River access trail, and a reconstruction of the historic Gardiner Depot with a welcome center. Constructions will take place in three phases, slated to begin in 2015. Learn more at gardinergatewayproject.org. 
—Drew Pogge


Mountain Memorial:

For most of his life, Ric Jonas loved to ski, and although he lived in Wisconsin, he drove to Bozeman whenever he needed a fix. “If he was stressed with work, I would look at him and say, ‘You need to go to Bridger,’” recounts Ric’s wife Jane. “We’d get in the car and drive 15 hours.”

Some years ago, Ric died in a tragic accident during a routine jog. “He was such a kind, good, generous, fun guy,” says Jane, “so we established the Ric Jonas Memorial Foundation to carry on his legacy.” While skiing at Bridger one recent January, Jane and her son Jesse discussed the foundation’s direction. Jesse suggested the family donate the remaining funds to Bridger Bowl for a warming hut on the north side of the mountain.

“We started visiting Bridger in the early ‘90s and have spent every Christmas Day there for years,” explains Jane. “The mountain means so much to us, and a cabin [in Ric’s honor] would be one last big hurrah for the foundation.”

After a subsequent partnership with the Bridger Bowl Foundation, and relying on community support—everything from free contractor labor to individual donations—the Alpine Cabin has become a reality. Scheduled for completion before the 2014-15 season, the warming hut will offer respite for cold, hungry skiers midway down the Limestone run, at the bottom of Montagne Meadow. The 2,200-square-foot layout features a large, centrally located warming stove and floor-to-ceiling windows for great views. Ric’s skis will hang from the rafters.

“Bridger Bowl is a great community ski hill, and even though we’re transplants, we wanted to give something back,” says Jane. “This is such a fitting way to honor Ric’s legacy and his love for Bridger.” —David Tucker

To make a donation, visit ricjonasfoundation.com or bridgerbowlfoundation.org.

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