Where are the canine hot spots in Big Sky?

[photo credit to Carolyn Williams of Zephyr Cycling Studio in Bozeman]

Some of our best friends have four legs. They run between our strides on trails, they heroically find people who have been buried in avalanches, and they love us no matter what.

One of my first reader-submitted questions related to Big Sky’s relationship with its pets. Where can we play with our doggies on and off leash? Why is it so difficult to find a long-term rental that allows people and pets to cohabitate? Let’s find out!

Houses are great options for renters, as long as the individual homeowners acquiesce. And all condominium associations within Big Sky permit owners to have dogs, though some restrict the quantity. Nonetheless, owners rule even when their dogs drool. It gets tricky, however, with long-term renters and condominium covenants.

Attendees at local housing forums often inquire about whether they can rent with their pets. To help them find a suitable home, I’ve compiled a list of places where pet owners—who are not property owners—should begin their search.

Condominium HOAs that permit renters to have dogs are: Hidden Village, Tamarack, Town Center, Broadwater, Elevation 6000, Essentia, Cottonwood, Deer Run, Pine Ridge and Madison Court. Currently, there are other HOAs reconsidering their policies. With many renters pushing the limits of “service animal” protections, property managers, tenants and landlords are struggling with pet permissions and deposits. It’s tough out there for all parties involved. I get it!

When I asked some local doggies about the issues facing them today, they mostly smiled and asked for a belly rub. One pup, who spoke with me on the condition of anonymity, revealed his fears of porcupine encounters. “Prickly bunch,” he said. Their owners said that this time of year, the spring thaw reveals a significant amount of decaying doggy refuse. So remember, “leave no trace” ethics pertain to your furry friends too.

Since Yellowstone National Park doesn’t allow dogs on trails, your best bet for a hike with your hound is in our national forests, Bureau of Land Management lands and wilderness areas. The official word is that your pet needs be on a leash or under direct voice control to protect yourself and wildlife. The Big Sky Community Organization is currently working on a Parks and Trails Master Plan, so if you’d like to make your voice heard in a favor a puppy park, call the BSCO office.

Cross-country skiing up Moose Creek is a great option to run your dogs in the winter, and in the summer, the sights and smells of the Hummocks, Uplands, and the Middle Fork trails will make tails wag.

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