“I Plow Hyalte” - maybe you've seen the sticker around town. Or perhaps you proudly display it on your favorite mug or the back of your Hyalite adventure-mobile. How exactly, do you plow Hyalite?
Each winter Gallatin County, the Custer Gallatin National Forest, and Friends of Hyalite work together to keep the Hyalite Canyon road plowed from mid-November through March 31st. Hyalite Canyon is the only place in the country where a local government plows a Forest Service road purely for recreational access. This is possible because of the 2006 Gallatin Travel Plan, a cost share agreement between Friends of Hyalite and the Forest Service, and an agreement between the Forest Service and Gallatin County. Gallatin County uses their equipment and staff to plow the Hyalite Canyon road and trailhead access points to provide access to winter recreation sites and all 3 entities – Gallatin County, the Bozeman Ranger District, and Friends of Hyalite – split the cost.
The 2006 Gallatin Travel Plan was a game changer for Hyalite Canyon. Previously, winter access to Hyalite was limited by snowfall. Once snow accumulated past the point where even the most daring drivers were unable to drive up the Canyon the only winter access was by foot or snowmobile. The Travel Plan changed this by permitting road plowing, but only if funding is available to cover the cost. Additionally, the Travel Plan requires that the Forest Service gate the road at the bottom of the Canyon for the entire winter is funding is not available for plowing.
Friends of Hyalite was founded, in part, to ensure that there's always money available for road plowing so that Hyalite continues to be accessible for all all winter long. As the only organization with a cost-share agreement with the Forest Service for plowing purposes, Friends of Hyalite serves an important role as the avenue through which the public can donate to keep Hyalite open in the winter. Friends of Hyalite is responsible for raising $13,000 each year to keep Hyalite plowed. You plow Hyalite by donating to Friends of Hyalite so that we can reach our annual goal and uphold our piece of the road plowing agreement.
Plowing Hyalite Canyon is not possible without community support. By donating to Friends of Hyalite you help keep the road open so that everybody can access and enjoy Hyalite in the winter.
You can also mail checks to Friends of Hyalite, PO Box 6235, Bozeman MT 59771 (specify "road plowing fund" in the memo line if you'd like your donation to go strictly to road plowing)