Update: State board endorses Somers Beach project

Thank you so much for taking the time to write in support of the project! The Board was impressed with the number of positive comments in support of the project.

State board endorses Somers Beach project, Kianna Gardner, Daily InterLake.

Thank you to so many of our members for sending letters of support for the Somers Beach Project, a proposal to create a state park and recreational access on the north shore of Flathead Lake to increase recreational access to the lake for families to picnic, swim, and enjoy the beauty of the north shore, as well as protect its wetlands and wildlife.

We loved your comments! Unfortunately, we can only include a few:

“Most often, I see families, and it makes me think how important it is that local children grow up with an appreciation and attachment for this stunning natural feature of our Valley. It is every generation’s responsibility to preserve and protect that resource, and coming generations need to form the attachment with the lake that will make them good future stewards of it…. I have attended Somers Company Town Museum gatherings and listened to the “old timers” reminisce about their own childhood escapades on the lake. They have wonderful stories to tell, and it makes me feel all the more keenly in giving future generations the chance to have their own stories to tell.” — Susan How, Somers resident

“Flathead Lake is a very special place.  Its clean, clear waters are world renowned and the largest, natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi is a significant driver of visitation and therefore to the vibrant economy of the Flathead Watershed. However, with the vast majority of shoreline in private ownership, public access to this wonderful resource is limited for both Montanans and visitors alike. Due to demand, access has become a bottleneck for the public to connect with and enjoy Flathead Lake.” — Tom Bansak, Flathead Lake Biological Station

“We have enjoyed and lived on the shores of Flathead Lake since 1960.  What a privilege!… More people enjoying and valuing the Lake will increase public support to protect the lake and its water quality…  Increased public access to this remarkable Lake through the proposed use of the Sliter family property deserves broad support.” — Roger Smith, past Board Member

We also received questions and comments raising concerns about impacts to wildlife and access. We thank everyone for their comments, as all of these are important considerations that will have to be addressed as the project moves forward. There will be further opportunities to comment and ensure your ideas and concerns are considered. At this time, the Montana State Parks and Recreation Board is being asked to review the project and allow Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to assess the feasibility of creating a state park – not a simple process!  We will let you know as additional opportunities for the public to be involved come up.