Abstract: Session D  3:30 pm (Back to Session D)
Story Mill Community Park – Restoring Ecological Function in an Urban Environment

Michael Rotar
Bozeman, MT

The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the City of Bozeman and other stakeholders, is creating a new 60-acre community park at the confluence of Bozeman Creek and the East Gallatin River in northeast Bozeman, Montana. The overarching vision for the Story Mill Community Park is a predominately natural park that retains the open space and scenic character of the site and that is inspired by the theme of rivers and water systems.

With its unique location at the confluence of these two waterways that drain the City of Bozeman, the site offers a rare and remarkable opportunity to combine ecological restoration with multiple other community benefits. Site degradation and loss of wetland and floodplain functions were caused by over a century of agricultural, industrial, commercial, and residential land uses. Existing wetlands occurred primarily on the South Parcel and were degraded by drainage ditches, placement of fill, and invasive plant species such as cattails, canary reedgrass, and Garrison creeping foxtail. Most recently the property was slated for intense mixed-residential development, but with the economic recession the property was sold through foreclosure in November 2011.

Recognizing the extraordinary potential of the site, The Trust for Public Land purchased the Story Mill property in December 2012 with the intention of restoring stream and wetland resources and creating a community park.

The presentation will provide a discussion of the stakeholder group and the importance of their involvement in the project. Inclusion of specific highlights and lessons learned throughout the design and planning process, and a presentation of the goals and objectives as they relate to the ecological and social success of the project.

The Trust for Public Lands sponsored and implemented this project with the help of many stakeholders.  Key stakeholders in the project include the City of Bozeman; Montana Department of Environmental Quality; Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks; Montana State University; Greater Gallatin Watershed Council; Gallatin Local Water Quality District; Trout Unlimited; neighbors, and numerous local water resource professionals.