Protecting Flathead Headwaters

Protecting the headwaters of Flathead Lake is critical for safeguarding clean water in the lake and Flathead watershed. The Flathead Lakers have played a significant role in advocating for its protection for nearly 60 years.

The Flathead Watershed includes all the land that drains into Flathead Lake and the Flathead River – a huge area stretching west from the Continental Divide to the Salish Mountains and from across the Canadian border in the north to the Clark Fork River in the south. Water flows from pristine headwaters in Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness and other wild lands, through forests, farms, and cities. Altogether, the Flathead Watershed drains six million acres of scenic landscapes. The three forks of the Flathead River contribute about 85% of the water entering Flathead Lake. The Flathead River is the largest tributary of the Clark Fork River and headwaters of the Columbia River.

Middle Fork Flathead River named one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers

One of the greatest threats now facing Flathead headwaters and the Flathead watershed is the transportation of Bakken crude oil along the wild and scenic corridor of the Middle Fork Flathead River.

The Flathead Lakers are working to raise awareness about this threat and advocating for additional safety measures to protect our most precious natural resource – our clean water. Learn more about the threat of oil trains traveling through our pristine headwaters.

Check out the short documentary produced by the Flathead Lakers, Oil and Water Don’t Mix, and share it! Take action to urge the Federal Railroad Administration to protect the Middle Fork Flathead by developing a safety agreement with Burlington Northern Sante Fe that helps prevent train derailments.

North Fork Victory: B.C. and Montana Ban Mining

During the past three decades, the Flathead Lakers, along with countless citizens, public officials, scientists and organizations, staunchly defended Flathead waters from the threat of upstream coal development proposals in the British Columbia headwaters of the Flathead River. That work paid off in 2010 when B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and Governor Brian Schweitzer signed a landmark agreement banning mining in the North Fork Flathead Watershed. This is a tremendous achievement for the future of Flathead Lake and the North Fork. Read more about the Transboundary Coal Mining Ban.