River to Lake Vision and Goals

Our Flathead Heritage

Johnston portrait inside

Glenn & Hazel Johnston

Glenn Johnston clearly remembers once being advised not to fall in love with the land, for it would interfere with his business decisions. “Over the years I have thought about that” he said. Johnston eventually came to a different conclusion: “What better thing is there to fall in love with?”

The Flathead Valley is growing and changing, but if there is one common value that unites our community, it is an appreciation for our unparalleled land, water, wildlife, and their beauty.

Johnston and his family worked with River to Lake partners to make sure their land remains as it is today for future generations.

The River to Lake Initiative brings together private landowners, land trusts, conservation organizations, counties, tribes and public agencies to conserve, enhance, and maintain our Flathead River and Lake natural heritage – excellent water quality, outstanding scenic and recreational values, and abundant fish and wildlife for people to enjoy and benefit from, today and tomorrow.

Growth pressures and development can lead to the loss of scenic views, degraded water quality, loss of access, and loss of habitat. By working together, we can conserve what is special about the Flathead Valley while accommodating growth.

We partner with landowners to:

  • Protect important natural fish and wildlife habitats along the Flathead River and the north shore of Flathead Lake.
  • Share information about good stewardship practices.
  • Improve habitat and restore degraded stream and river banks.
  • Work with local communities and governments to develop and implement workable and responsible river and lake access plans.

Since 2000, partners have protected over 5,000 acres of critical lands (see Success Stories), adding to a conservation network (see Map) of over 10,000 acres of private and publicly protected lands.

River to Lake Initiative Goals

  • Maintain and improve water quality.
  • Protect natural floodplain functions.
  • Protect and enhance critical fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Conserve prime farmlands.
  • Maintain traditional rural and scenic character.

What is accomplished?

River to Lake partners are working with a number of landowners interested in protecting their property through voluntary conservation agreements, land acquisition, fair-market financial incentives, and stream bank restoration so that the Flathead always remains a special place.  Read about the River to Lake Initiative’s successful conservation projects.

To learn about how to participate click on How You Can Help or Contact Us.

Check our River to Lake Initiative Handout