All Big Sky locals are transplants, right? Wrong! Well, that’s mostly true; nearly everyone who lives here came from somewhere else. But there are a few among us who took their very first steps in the shadow of Lone Mountain or along the banks of the Gallatin River.
When my real estate clients begin envisioning life here, they often ask me if there are people fortunate enough to have been locally born and raised. They wonder how amazing it would be to have spent not just their young adult years, or retirement, but their entire life in these mountains, forests and streams.
Ed Hake is one of the rare living fellows who saw Big Sky before it even existed. His family moved into the southernmost reaches of the Gallatin Canyon when he was a child in the mid-1960s. While I’m not divulging his exact age, let’s just say much has changed here in his lifetime.
Back in the day, he says, he shot his fair share of gophers on the Big Sky Community Park grounds where we now play softball and soccer. When I asked him what he sees in Big Sky’s future, he made a distinction between Big Sky and where he lives … adding that he’s never leaving the Gallatin Canyon.
When the high school opened in 2009, families didn’t have to send their teens to Bozeman High anymore. The prospect of a continuous K-12 experience in Big Sky inspired a baby boom. Now, plenty of kiddos can claim they’re from Big Sky. Since 2009, approximately 225 babies have been welcomed into Big Sky families (based on educated guesses from Bozeman Health and Morningstar Learning Center, this information is difficult to track).
Not many babies have truly been born here but at least two of them were delivered en route to the hospital in Bozeman, into the steady hands of wide-eyed dads.
I spoke with a few of the youngsters who are indeed from around these here parts. Their reflections on growing up in Big Sky were colorful and they seemed barely aware of how lucky they are. They recounted unabashed tales of wildlife encounters, skiing on Fridays with their teachers and field trips to Yellowstone National Park.
Jillian Blakeley has lived here her entire life, nearly 10 whole years, and she appreciates being only a few miles from the ski hill, “because most people have to get on a plane to ski.” One of her favorite things about being born and raised here is that “at recess, the slides are extra fast when they have snow on them.”