As a realtor in Bozeman for over thirty years, I’ve had a unique ability to watch Bozeman grow.  Throughout those three decades of change, one thing has held steady – our high quality of life.  Bozeman is an incredible place to live, to raise a family and to run a business, and we’ve done a great job of ensuring that it stays that way by planning ahead.

Over the next 20 years, Bozeman is expected to grow by another 20,000 people.  It’s more critical now than ever that we plan ahead to keep what’s special. Fortunately, this November we have a great opportunity to do just that by voting yes on the Bozeman Parks and Trails Bond.  This $15 million bond measure will help expand our parks and athletic fields, develop more trails and protect our water quality and natural areas – all things that create our high quality of life. 

My business and I are committed to this bond measure for the sake of Bozeman’s future, which is why I’m co-chairing the Campaign Committee for Bozeman’s Parks & Trails along with Steve Schnee, founder of Schnee’s Boots & Shoes. Our Committee has over 20 local businesses, conservation organizations, youth sports organizations and recreation groups working to protect our quality of life.

Costing less than $45 a year for the typical Bozeman household, funds from the bond measure will be spent only on parks, trails, water and natural areas. To ensure that funds are spent in an accountable, transparent way, a citizen advisory board will make recommendations to the City Commission about which projects to fund and all expenditures will be made only after publicly noticed meetings.

This is an investment Steve and I believe in because it is good for our community’s future and for our economy. Tourism and recreation-based businesses rely on maintaining these qualities. Developing athletic fields that can draw in regional tournaments – especially during the shoulder seasons not otherwise busy with tourists – will be a boon for our restaurants, hotels and a variety of other businesses.

Other industries, such as our burgeoning high-tech sector, also thrive because of our high quality of life. Employers are able to attract and retain skilled, educated workers in a community that boasts accessible recreation, active lifestyles and a strong sense of community.

Schnee hand-selected Bozeman as the place to start his business nearly 40 years ago because of the quality of life. He comments, “In 1974, after conducting an eight state search, my wife and I chose Bozeman as the place to start our business and raise our family. It is now more important than ever to invest and protect those very same quality of life values that originally drew us to Bozeman.”

Parks and trails benefit our entire community. They provide quality recreation opportunities for young families, promote good fitness for all ages, provide alternative transportation options, develop our sense of community and are free for anyone to use. Residences in close proximity to parks and trails tend to hold their value and are typically more desirable.

Investing now – with just a few dollars a month for the average Bozeman household – will help us thrive and our community grow without losing the qualities that make Bozeman so special: clear-flowing water, accessible parks, abundant trails and beautiful natural areas.

Please vote yes on the Parks and Trails Bond this November, and get involved in the campaign to help maintain our quality of life.

Robyn Erlenbush is the broker owner of ERA Landmark in Bozeman and has led the organization since 1990. She has received numerous awards for her work in real estate and business development, including being named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011 by Prospera Business Network.