Local’s Guide to Welcoming Newcomers to Bozeman
Bozeman continues to be a popular destination for folks moving from larger cities in exchange for a simpler lifestyle. If you visit any Bozeman-related social media page, you'll find questions from newcomers about life in Bozeman.
More often than not, those questions are answered with responses like;
"Go back to where you came from." or "Montana is full."
For people that have lived in the Bozeman area since before the housing boom, the changes can be difficult to adjust to. As more people move here, increased stress is being put on public lands and places we all enjoy.
I grew up in Idaho, which is very similar to Montana. Both states have an abundance of public land and wilderness. When you grow up in a place like that, you are taught at an early age to appreciate it and keep it the way it is.
The thought of more people moving to Montana makes a lot of people angry, but getting angry isn't going to stop people from moving here. We need to be better about educating newcomers and realize that many of them weren't raised in the same environment. If you grew up in a big city like Seattle or L.A. and saw trash on the streets every day, you'd think it was normal.
If someone new to the Bozeman area sees someone leave a bag of dog poop on a hiking trail, they may get the impression that it's normal. Locals need to lead by example and take time to help newcomers adjust to the area. Education is key. We need to let new residents know how important the area is to us, and that we don't want it to change or get destroyed.
There's an old saying that goes "Leave it better than you found it." That means cleaning up trash and debris if you see it, even if it isn't yours. If we want to keep Bozeman pristine and beautiful, we all need to do our part. Getting angry about new residents isn't productive, and won't change anything.
Let's be better, Bozeman. Let's do our part to show newcomers the ropes and teach them the important things they need to know if they plan on calling Montana home.