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Trail Ambassadors Hit Sourdough
December 17, 2018
Jenny White

With a growing population, Bozeman's trails are teaming with people, and trail etiquette education is a constant process. It takes lots of social media posts, articles, and repetition to get the word out and influence behavior. This past weekend, staff from Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) and Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT) took to the trails in person.

Matt Marcinek, community trails program manager for GVLT; Kyle Marvinney, trail grooming manager for BSF; and Evan Weiss, executive director of BSF, set up shop at the Sourdough/Bozeman Creek trailhead. They distributed trail maps and dog waste bags. They gave ski trail advice. And they broached the topic of trail etiquette with the Saturday crowds headed up the trail. All with a little coffee and hot cocoa for trail users.

Sourdough is a particularly challenging area for trail etiquette, with skiers, walkers, runners, and dogs all sharing a single out-and-back trail. The first mile or two of this trail can be very congested, but for those going longer distances, the upper sections are often quiet and peaceful.

A few Sourdough tips:

BSF Executive Director Evan Weiss and GVLT Community Trails Program Manager Matt Marcinek being true trail ambassadors--scooping the poop at the trailhead.
  1. Pick up after your dog. That means also keeping an eye on your dog so you know when they go. Follow the lead of Matt and Evan above--scoop up an extra bag of waste (it doesn't have to be a garbage bag) on your way out. Nobody likes brown klister on their skis.
  2. The first mile of this trail is BUSY. Accept that. Channel your inner calm. Skiers should slow down through the first mile and again on their return. It's an obstacle course at times. Walkers should stay to the right on the way up (left on the way down). Dogs should stick close to their owners. When passing, call out "on your left" or "on your right" and slow down to pass.
  3. Careful on the corners. Sourdough provides a fun downhill on the way out, but it also has a couple of blind corners. Yes, downhill skiers have the right of way in skiing etiquette, but they are also responsible for prudent speeds and negotiating around uphill traffic. (See No. 2.)
  4. Support the grooming. The most expensive trail BSF grooms is Sourdough--largely due to the excessive ski, foot, and paw traffic. If you walk, run, or ski this trail, you're encouraged to get a voluntary trail pass or make a donation to the BSF Trails Program. This is how trail grooming is funded.
  5. Have fun and be nice. We're all out here to enjoy the trails. You can help everyone have a great day by being polite, by following trail etiquette, and spreading the joy of a great winter day.


For more trail etiquette information, visit and



Bridger Ski Foundation is a local nonprofit that grooms 70+ km of winter trails, including those at Highland Glenn, Sunset Hills, Bridger Creek Golf Course, Bozeman Creek/Sourdough, the MSU Intramural Fields Loop, Sacajawea Middle School Loop, and assisting the Forest Service in Hyalite. Grooming is funded solely through a grant, voluntary trail pass sales, and donations to BSF. Trail access is provided by partnerships with GVLT, Bozeman Health, the City of Bozeman, Bridger Creek Golf Course, MSU, and the Custer-Gallatin National Forest. BSF also provides ski programming for the community in Nordic, Alpine, Freestyle, Freeskiing and Snowboarding.