The BTC is a local, grassroots coalition that formed in 2009 by community members wishing to make a difference.
Beaverhead Trails Coalition (BTC) began in 2009 with a small group of community members who wanted to promote a healthy lifestyle for the community by encouraging walking, hiking, bicycling, and other forms of outdoor exercise. The three committed people involved, a nurse, an orthopedic surgeon, and the Beaverhead County Planner, decided it was necessary to officially form an organization, with regular structure and meetings, in order to achieve their goals. Additionally, another longtime local physician donated the funding needed to apply for 501(c)(3) certification, which we achieved in 2012.
BTC subsequently successfully applied for funding for projects such as the Walking School Bus, the Bicycle Recycling program, and a Bike Rodeo and bike helmet giveaway. We also created “Walk and Talk with a Doc,” encouraging healthy walks with doctors for free medical advice, installed a bridge over Pigtail Creek, and partially funded a restructuring of the traffic and sidewalk pattern at the local grade schools, for added safety. Recognizing the need for more helping hands, the core group worked hard on a successful membership drive. Today we have 99 members and have worked extensively with the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, MT Dept of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, MT Dept of Natural Resources and Conservation, MT Dept of Transportation, MT Youth Challenge, Beaverhead County High School and University of Montana Western cross-country & football teams, and hundreds of volunteers.
In 2014 we constructed our first trail to the top of the hills west of Dillon, accessing the area with a permanent easement on ¼ mile of private property and located on county property at the top. But we were hungering for more. Thus, in 2014 we began our most ambitious project to date – the purchase of 1,108 acres of land on the hills above Dillon, from the “M” to the “B” and extending to the west. That year we signed a Buy-Sell Agreement outlining a five-year, three phase plan to purchase the land and open it to the public. Our first purchase was Sept 21, 2015 and after five years of hard work fundraising, building trails, adding signage, and combatting noxious weeds, on Sept 6, 2019 we purchased the final 127 acres. We now own 1,114 acres of land (including a donation of 6 acres from a local rancher), right on the edge of town, with 10 miles of trails for all to enjoy. Our dream is to connect to nearby Bureau of Land Management and State land, creating a corridor for bicycling, hiking, running and horseback riding from town to the Pioneer Mountains.
In 2018 and 2019 we worked on three additional major projects, one leading to a new official Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Fishing Access along the Beaverhead River on the north edge of town, another creating a pedestrian and bike trail along Noble Avenue connecting trails on the north side of town with existing trails in town, and a third installing bike racks in downtown Dillon to encourage bike usage. We’re still working on the Noble Avenue in-town trails project and it will eventually lead to a much better, safer route to school and town from the northern suburbs.
We’re still focused on our mission of encouraging healthy lifestyles and we’re well on our way to providing some of the structural amenities (land, trails, parks, bike racks) that make it possible. We owe a lot of people a lot of thanks, our funders in particular. Without them, volunteers, agency help, pro bono and discounted work, and donations of all kinds, we wouldn’t be much beyond our first little trail to the top.
A community with easy access to walking, bicycling, and horseback riding.
Providing the community with walking, bicycling, and horseback riding trails, parks, and programs.
BTC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR-Celine Beaucamp-stout
A native of France, Celine has lived in the Dillon area since the summer of 2015. She loves the outdoors, and is excited to be working for the BTC! With a background of geology, you can find Celine seeking out those passions hiking, fishing, camping and exploring new areas in the Grasshopper Valley. She also works as a Geology Adjunct Instructor in the Environmental Sciences Department at University of Montana Western, a Yellowstone Geology Tour Instructor with Road Scholars, and occasionally substitute teacher at Beaverhead County High School. If you see Celine around town, make sure to say hi and introduce yourself!
2014-2017 BTC Board Members
President-Dr. Dan Downey
Dan is a physician in Dillon who has had a life-long interest in hiking. He has a passion in creating walking and hiking trails in the Dillon area. He, his wife, and daughter enjoy the Beaverhead County community with both its beautiful surroundings as well as its colorful history.
Vice President-Craig Simonsen
Craig developed a fondness for nature at a young age, an interest which ultimately led him to a career in forestry. Though retired professionally, his love of the outdoors remains strong. He and his wife share in many of the year-round recreational opportunities available in southwest Montana, including hiking, camping, and snowshoeing. Craig also enjoys fishing, photography, and music, and serves on the Board of the Dillon Concert Association.
Secretary - Pat Carrick
Pat's truck broke down in Beaverhead County 40 years ago and she found her place. Though she continues to travel now and then, every return is the resettling of her spirit where she always longs to be, with her husband, David, in the midst of her ranching family, surrounded by the clearest air, the freshest water, the most spectacular lakes and mountains, high deserts, and grasslands on earth. Home.
Treasurer - Joyce Connors
Joyce grew up in Nebraska and Colorado, going from a state with very little public land to one with mountains and forests and places to play. Living in Dillon for the last 40 years has only increased her love for the outdoors. She and her husband have hiked around 30,000 miles together, whether hiking, mountain climbing, shed hunting, rock hounding, or cross country skiing. The value of public land for all to enjoy is of top priority, so our High Trails Project is near and dear to her heart. She recently retired from the Business Office at University of Montana Western after many years with Great Harvest and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
Dan worked for the US Forest Service for many years across Idaho, Nevada, and Montana fighting fires among other tasks. Now retired, he is active with the Three Rivers Backcounty Horsemen and enjoys many types of outdoor recreation.
Ed is glad to be a member of BTC as a Dillon native, and again a Dillon resident as of 2013. In the interim Ed spent many years as a Professor in the Industrial Engineering Department of Montana State University as well as other institutions. He has always loved the outdoors and is excited about the organization's mission to increase hiking, biking, walking opportunities in the Dillon area. Ed's community involvement also includes being a member of the Dillon Planning and Zoning Board, as well as the Dillon Tree Board.
Member - Pam Laursen
Pam grew up in Canada surrounded by the Gatineau Hills in capital region. Since 1984 she has resided in Israel, and the southeastern U.S. Pam, her husband and children have enjoyed hiking the Appalachian Trail in Georgia and North Carolina. She and her husband moved to Dillon July 2017. They enjoy hiking the very accessible trails surrounding Dillon created by the BTC. They also enjoy life in Dillon and are quickly becoming part of its fabric. Professionally, Pam has worked in the public school system as a career adviser and in the university setting as a grant coordinator. A new career direction is working as a certified nurse assistant.
The Beaverhead Trails Coalition Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt public corporation with our Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws filed and approved by the Montana Secretary of State on August 23, 2012.
Beaverhead Trails Coalition does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national or tribal origin (ethnicity or ancestry), disability, marital or pregnancy status, sexual orientation, sexual identity or military status, in any of its activities or operations.