Friends of Hyalite is a 501(c)3, grassroots, 100% volunteer organization that draws on a broad base of community support and mutual love of the outstanding, year-round, recreational opportunities found in Hyalite Canyon. The Friends of Hyalite is borne from efforts spearheaded by the Southwest Montana Climbers’ Coalition (SMCC) and the Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) from 2002-08 that resulted in the unique collaboration we now enjoy between the Gallatin National Forest, Gallatin County and the public who so treasure the beauty of Hyalite in winter.
Year round, Hyalite Canyon is the most frequently used Forest Service canyon in the entire state of Montana. As a result, the area requires added management and investment to maintain adequate infrastructure and amenities as well as to educate the public to promote responsible use and stewardship. As one example, to keep the road snowplowed and open for public use from December 1st to April 1st (in an average year) requires and estimated expense of $29,200.
Gallatin County and Gallatin National Forest are committed in principle to try and keep the road accessible in winter. Yet in an era of tightening belts and shrinking budgets, continued plowing of the Hyalite road is definitely on thin ice. Simply put, it will not continue to happen without public support.
Who Are “Friends of Hyalite”?
The easy answer is YOU- and all your friends and family. Friends of Hyalite is a broad based community vehicle to educate the general public about recreational opportunities and standing regulations in Hyalite Canyon. We are also working hard to raise and distribute funds to help lessen the burdens of government (read, plowing the road) that help keep Hyalite Canyon a safe and enjoyable resource for public outdoor winter recreation, including but not limited to: ice climbing, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, wildlife viewing, sledding, snowmobiling, hunting, ice fishing, Christmas tree cutting, and wood gathering.
Rules of the (Hyalite) Road:
* If someone else is stuck or in trouble, help your neighbor.
* Always carry a shovel or two in your vehicle when driving the Hyalite Road. It is not uncommon to get one or two tires stuck. A shovel solves this quickly and turns a multi-hour epic into a few minutes of digging.
* AWD/4WD and or snow tires are recommended. Difficult winter driving conditions exist beyond the Reservoir so please do not attempt to drive beyond Blackmore without a shovel, the proper vehicle and driving skills. The road will be icy.
* Below the Reservoir drive slow (25 mph max) and watch it going around the many blind corners. Some are solid ice.
* Stay on your side of the road.
* Above the Reservoir please drive even slower (20 mph max) and watch closely for oncoming traffic. Slow down, if not stop, to allow cars passing opposite directions.
* No parking is allowed anywhere on the main road except in designated pull outs or parking lot.
* Spread the word and ask, if not demand, your fellow traveler(s) to be responsible.
Thank you all for your continued efforts, love and support of Hyalite Canyon winter recreation.
Friends of Hyalite is a new 501(c)3 organization. We need your help. Please visit our web site to learn more about Hyalite and how you can get involved to help keep our favorite backyard winter playground accessible.