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Somers Beach Project proposal moves forward

The Sliters family is working with the Flathead Land Trust, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and other Flathead River to Lake Initiative partners to create a state park and public access site on their Somers’ property, on the North Shore of Flathead Lake (Photo courtesy of Sliters family). The proposed project would provide much needed recreational access on the lake, as well as protect 60 acres of wetlands, and a bird viewing area.

The Sliter family has owned the 106-acre parcel since 1930 and allows the public to use the property for recreation and lake access. They have been looking for ways to conserve the area for public use for a long time. “Properties like the Sliters are rare along Flathead Lake,” Andrea Goudge, chief financial officer for Sliters Lumber and Building Supply, said. “With this project, we have a real opportunity to conserve this vital piece of land and preserve our Montana outdoor heritage on what is considered the crown jewel of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem.”

The property includes 60 acres of wetlands and is adjacent to the Flathead Lake Waterfowl Production Area. “When the lake levels are low, the wildlife haven is a popular tourist and resident destination during sunny spring days and when the lake levels rise during the summer, the area’s shallow waters extend far out from the shore, providing a safe area for families to swim and recreate,” wrote Kianna Gardner with the Daily Inter Lake. A new state park would provide much-needed relief to other public access points around Flathead Lake and boost local economies in Somers and Lakeside.

The proposal   is in its early stages. It April, the proposal was submitted to the Montana State Parks and Recreation Board for review. Letters of support poured in from the public. Susan How, a Somers resident wrote: “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.”

In May, the State Parks and Recreation Board voted unanimously to allow interested parties to continue their evaluations of whether the popular Somers Beach has the potential to become a formal state park and to “initiate due diligence to explore the purchase of the property.” The state will conduct an extensive assessment followed by Public scoping before a final decision on the project is made.

Read more about this proposed project at:
Popular Somers Beach could become state park, Daily Inter Lake, 3/28.
Somers Beach – An Opportunity for New Public Access on Flathead Lake, Flathead Land Trust, 4/2.
Shifting Sands at Somers Beach, Flathead Beacon, 4/6.
State board endorses Somers beach project, Daily Inter Lake, 5/12.

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