Tim grew up on a Minnesota dairy farm. He earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard, then made his way west to the University of Montana, where he received a master's degree in environmental studies. In 1988, Tim founded the Ecology Center. In no particular order, Bechtold has either founded or been part of the founding of Friends of Missoula Parks, Brennan's Wave, the Montana Bike Racing Association and the Wild Rockies Field Institute. Tim earned a law degree from the University of Montana with high honors, clerked for a federal judge, and was a partner in a Missoula law firm. He serves on the Missoula Park Board, Montana Area Youth Hockey Association board, and the Sussex School board. Tim and his wife, Karen Knudsen (Executive Director of the Clark Fork Coalition), raise two children in Missoula.