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John H. Dover Memorial Park

John H. Dover Memorial Park

Surrounded by over 630 acres of the John H. Dover Park, Pioneer School has direct access to the natural-area green space along the Yellowstone River and what will be the rehabilitated gravel mine to include lakes, wetlands, meadows, and trails. Through our unique Outdoor Learning Program, our school community creates a laboratory for outdoor learning which amplifies the outcomes of public education, serves learners of all abilities and needs, fosters a deep connection to the environment, and prepares students for success in school and life.

Park History

John H. Dover began homesteading on the property in 1882 and grew his short-horned cattle ranch into a successful, multi-generational operation. His grandson and heir, Jim Sindelar, began working with YRPA in the early 1990’s with an eye on conservation and public access. Jim and his wife Virginia (Ginnie) began by placing portions of the land under conservation easement. They then made donations of land to YRPA for a publicly-accessible park.

In 2021, the Sindelar family donated an adjacent gravel mine area, more than doubling the size of the property. And in that same year, YRPA was able to purchase the core of the homestead property with funding from the Montana Natural Resource Damage ProgramDucks UnlimitedPhillips 66Montana FWP, and others. A master planning effort in late 2022 pulled these three sections together. The full John H Dover Memorial Park plan, seen below, set the vision for this 600 acre park at a primary entryway and growth hub of East Billings.