As the Bozeman Daily Chronicle feature story on growth in Gallatin County said, “It’s hard to argue with the math. Buoyed by the region’s booming economy and widely lauded quality of life, Gallatin County pushed past the 100,000 mark for the first time last year. Since 1990, annual population growth has averaged 2.8 percent. The next decade will see 32,000 new Gallatin County residents -- a number slightly larger than the population of Helena.”
This stunning rate of growth will undoubtedly spill over into adjoining counties, a phenomenon we're also seeing in Missoula, Jackson Hole, Big Sky, Billings, Boise, and other booming communities in the Northern Rockies. Meanwhile, the real estate market in some rural counties is also heating up, meaning potential impacts on ranch operations, wildlife movement, and access to public lands.
Because of the significance of these trends, Future West is ramping up its efforts to work with communities and individuals concerned about these patterns of growth. In partnership with the Bozeman Chronicle and Montana State University, we are helping to put a spotlight on Gallatin County growth trends, impacts and opportunities through a series of articles that the Chronicle will run throughout 2016. The first of these appeared on January 31, read it here. We hope it will spark renewed efforts to take meaningful steps to better plan for our future.
After all, growth may be inevitable, but how we grow is up to us.