LETTER: MT BHA encourages Land Board to approve Flathead Lake acquisitions

Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers 

PO Box 9257

Missoula, MT 59807

Email: [email protected] 


The Board of Land Commissioners

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) 

Trust Lands Management Division
[email protected]


RE: Action Items 1220-1 and 1220-2


Dear Land Board, 


The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a grassroot conservation organization with roughly 3,000 dues-paying members. We submit these comments in support of the proposed Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) purchase of properties for the creation of Montebello Fishing Access Site and Somers Beach State Park. 


Flathead lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi river, provides important habitat for threatened species such as common loons and bull trout. In addition to offering a vibrant fishery consisting of species of other native and introduced fishes, the lake is home to a large array of resident and migratory birds and waterfowl. The lake also serves as a vital economic driver for the Flathead Valley and communities surrounding the lake. The outdoor economy continues to be one of the largest sources of income for the state of Montana, providing more than $7 billion in 2019 alone. Many of the roughly 95,000 nearby residents rely on access to the lake for recreational uses such as boating, fishing, hiking, camping and picnicking, as well as benefiting from visitor spending. As the Flathead Valley continues to grow in population, coupled with increasing tourism to the area, and a continually developing private shoreline, providing public access to the lake is increasingly critical. 


The addition of a new fishing access site and state park would help relieve pressure and crowding on existing access points on a lake that sees more than 40,000 angler days per year.


Montana BHA strongly supports the FWP acquisition of approximately 106 acres of land along the north shore of Flathead Lake for the creation of Somers Beach State Park, and strongly supports the FWP acquisition of approximately 15 acres of property along the western shore of Flathead Lake for the creation of the Montebello Fishing Access Site. 




Molly VandeVoort, Flathead Board Member 

Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

About Molly VandeVoort

Montana BHA Flathead Board Member (Whitefish/Columbia Falls/Kalispell)

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