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About Us

The Gallatin River Task Force is a locally led non-profit 501 (c)(3) watershed group headquartered along the famous Gallatin River in Big Sky, Montana. The Task Force is governed by a board of community members representing a wide variety of stakeholders including: homeowners, recreation business owners, teachers, and local water resource managers.

Board & Staff

  Ron Bowlin, Chair
Ron has been visiting the area since 1997, became a part-time resident in 2010, and settled here permanently in 2012. He retired from a 29 year Navy career in 1998, earned his MBA at National University San Diego in 2000, and spent 11 years with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and Hewlett-Packard (HP).  He retired again in 2012 as the Director of Information Technology Engineering Services for Navy, Marine Corps, and other Department of Defense accounts at HP Enterprise Services.  Additionally, Ron served on the Board of Directors at North Island Credit Union in San Diego from 1991-2011. His other volunteer and community service experiences include the San Diego USO, Armed Services YMCA, Special Olympics, and Partnerships in Education.  Ron and his wife Sheryl enjoy the local skiing, fishing, and hunting with their only child, a German Wirehaired Pointer named Dirk.

Ron Edwards, Board Member
Ron has been the General Manager of the Big Sky County Water & Sewer District 363 for the past 10 years. Prior to this position he served as the Manager for the Green Lake Sanitary District, a summer lake resort community located in Green Lake, Wisconsin from 1988 to 1995. He has a Masters degree in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and a Bachelors degree in Geology from the University of Montana. Prior to 1988 he worked as a petroleum geologist in the Williston Basin. Ron and his family have lived in the Four Corners area since 1997. He and his wife Karla have 3 children; a daughter 24, and 2 sons 22 and 18. Ron enjoys golf and hunting and serves as the President of the Bozeman American Legion baseball program. Below is an article written by Ron about his interest in the Gallatin River:
Zero Goal: BWTF, Yellowstone Club Explore Innovative Use of Wastewater: to make artificial snow

Nancy Sheil, Board Member
Nancy teaches high school math and environmental science at Lone Peak High School in Big Sky. Drawn by Big Sky's scenic beauty and year-round outdoor recreation opportunities, Nancy moved to Big Sky in 2000. She worked as a professional ski patroller at Big Sky Resort for eight years while she attended Montana State University to complete her B.S. in Land Resources and Environmental Science. In 2012, Nancy completed her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from MSU. Nancy lives in Big Sky with her husband and two young children. Nancy loves to play outside and share her love of the outdoors with her family, especially if it involves skiing, biking, rafting, or camping. 

Rich Chandler, Board Member
Rich was born outside of Seattle, WA and began skiing and fishing at a very young age.  He moved to Big Sky in 1995 to better explore his love for the outdoors.  Through this journey he has been a professional ski patroller for a total of 14 years.  Since 2001 Rich has been employed by the Yellowstone Club where he currently manages the environmental performance of the company as well as managing the summer trails program. Rich brings knowledge and experience in the fields of land reclamation, recreational development and environmental compliance to the Gallatin River Task Force.  He currently lives outside of Belgrade with his wife and two children.  Away from work Rich enjoys spending time on skis, pedaling his bike, hiking a mountain with a bow in hand or carefully waiting for a fish to take a fly. 

Mike Richter, Treasurer/Secretary

Mike caught a ride to Big Sky in 1991 and has been snowboarding in the area ever since.  He has a bachelors degree in Environmental Geology from Ohio University and began working for the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology in 1995.  Mike collects ground water data from participating landowners across Montana for the GWIC database.  He lives with his wife Jodi at Karst in the Gallatin Canyon and enjoys long pow runs, safe skin tracks, catching fish until his arm hurts, and friendly Big Sky, Montana. Below is an article written by Mike about his interest in the Gallatin River:

State Agency Monitoring Big Sky Water

San Schwalbe, Vice Chair
San has been a full-time resident in Big Sky since 1979. She opened Wildwood Landscaping in 1981, which is now known as Wildwood Nursery, Inc. San is a Landscape Design Consultant and Nursery Professional. She has been a member of the Montana Landscape and Nursery Association since 1995. She has two grown children attending Montana State University. Loving the outdoors, San enjoys hiking, downhill and cross-country skiing here in Big Sky and enjoys snorkeling and scuba diving. Below is an article written by San about her interest in the Gallatin River:
Clean Water, a Community Responsibility

   Tom Spruance, Board Member
Tom and his son Preston have spent the last six summers in the Big Sky. Both avid fly fishermen and skiers, they believe strongly in the preservation of the scenic beauty that surrounds the Gallatin River and the Big Sky area. Tom is a retired real estate executive and president of the Spruance Foundation II supporting many organizations in the area, like the Yellowstone Park Foundation, Henry’s Fork Foundation and the Jack Creek Preserve. Tom is presently on the Board of Trustees at the University of Tampa and Chairman of the Family Association. Tom was State Auditor of Accounts for the State of Delaware 1980-82 and managed many state and federal political campaigns. Having lived in Vail, Colorado for nine years, Tom brings to the board personal experience of growth and development in scenic mountain areas. 

   Rich Addicks, Board Member
On his 12th birthday Rich received his first fly rod, setting of a life-long love affair with clean, free-flowing high mountain rivers and streams.  Rich is a son of the West (Oregon, Nevada, Colorado), but spent most of his career as a photojournalist working for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, covering everything from Olympics to famine in Sudan to everyday life in growing region and city.  In 1998 he and his wife built a second home in Big Sky, a consolation prize of sorts, they joke, for sticking it out in the big city.  Today as a freelance photojournalist, Rich happily calls Big Sky home, fulfilling a life-long dream of getting back home to the West.  Rich is a graduate of Oregon State University.  He loves all things outdoors, discovering new music, and spending time with his family, and black lab, Bunker.  He also serves on the board of the Arts Council of Big Sky.         

   Ben Almy, Board Member    
Ben moved to Big Sky in the winter of 2009 and has remained in the area for the majority of his time since.  Initially moving for the winters he quickly fell in love with all the seasons due in large part to his love of fly fishing and time spent on the Gallatin River.  Ben graduated from the University of Montana in 2008 with a Bachelors degree in History and Political Science and a secondary teaching certification.  He spent his first three years in the area working service industry and manual labor jobs as well as substitute teaching in Bozeman, Belgrade and Big Sky.  He is currently the Events Coordinator and manager at Lone Peak Cinema where he has been since its opening in November 2011.  Ben loves to be outside and his happiest with skis on his feet, riding a bike, or with a fly rod in his hand.  



Kristin Gardner, PhD Executive Director
Kristin has a PhD in Environmental Science and Ecology from MSU with a focus on streamwater quality. Kristin has worked in the Big Sky community for many years, conducting her PhD research in the West Fork watershed and serving as a Big Sky Institute fellow at Ophir School. Along with a passion for the area and a love of the outdoors, she brings a background in Water Resource Engineering and Environmental Policy (M.A from Tufts University) and experience working for nonprofit organizations. For her Master's research she worked closely with the Nantucket Land Council, a non-profit land trust in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and the Nantucket community on groundwater quality issues. Kristin has published her work in several scientific journals, including Water Resources Research and Ground Water. In her free time, Kristin enjoys playing outdoors, listening to live music and traveling with her husband Jeremy, son Elijah, and dog Thailer.
  Andrea Saari, Development Coordinator
Andrea joined the Gallatin River Task Force team in 2013.  After completing her undergraduate degree in Ecology & Evolution at Montana State University in Bozeman, she pursued work as a bird field biologist in the summers and the ski-bum lifestyle in the winters.  She has been in Big Sky since 2003, working as a ski and snowboard instructor, as well as a naturalist guide in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  Eventually, all of her experiences fused together and now she can be found on the trails of Lone Mountain Ranch, the Gallatin Canyon, and Yellowstone National Park, interpreting how everything in the ecosystem works together, and the important role humans play as stewards.  She is also currently working towards her Master’s in Math & Statistics at MSU-Bozeman.
  Stephanie Lynn, Big Sky Watershed Corps Member
Stephanie is new to the Gallatin River Task Force, and will be serving as the 2015 Big Sky Watershed Corps Member. Originally from New Hampshire, Stephanie recently completed her undergraduate degree in Earth and Oceanographic Sciences at Bowdoin College. During college, she was employed on professional trail crews from Alaska to upstate New York. Since graduation, Stephanie has taught high school students about the Ecology of the Merrimack River Watershed and has worked as a backcountry naturalist for the Appalachian Mountain Club. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys Nordic skiing, hiking, and baking bread.
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