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KPAX Country: Railroad a daily reminder of Whitefish history - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

KPAX Country: Railroad a daily reminder of Whitefish history

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WHITEFISH -

The railroad is what put Whitefish on the map. Burlington Northern Santa Fe is one of the top three employers in Whitefish. And because of Amtrak, tourists from across the US can be dropped off right downtown.

Whitefish Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kevin Gartland shares with us what makes Whitefish so special. 

"The rail lines are extremely important. We wouldn't be here if it was not for them," Gartland says.

"The first train came through here in 1904 and the city was chartered a year after that in 1905. So the reason the City of Whitefish was founded was because of the railroad. Today, Burlington Northern Santa Fe runs it. I was doing the math; between 800,000 and one million containers come through here every year on about 15 to 20 different trains a day. We employ 300 people in the Whitefish area, which is a major employer, one of the top three. And we have Amtrak that comes through here as well. Everyday eastbound and westbound they drop about 40,000 passengers a year in the Whitefish area and that adds so much to our local economy."

So this is one of the stops for Amtrak passengers when they get to Whitefish. What do they do when they arrive in Whitefish in summer, winter, fall?

"This is a four-season resort," Gartland says. "Now it's the summertime, we are on the mountain hiking, on the lake boating, you know. The downtown shopping and galleries and all that god stuff. In the wintertime we have the skiing, snowmobiling. we have all kinds of activities four seasons around. Whether you are into fishing or biking, if there is anything you like to do outdoors you can do it in Whitefish. 

It's such a cool city if you have never been here. As a local, for people who have never been here, or maybe just once or twice, what is your favorite and what do you want people to know about what makes Whitefish so special? 

"I take people to the top of Whitefish Mountain in the summertime," Gartland says. "Take a chairlift to the top, do lunch at the summit house. Views 360-degrees all around, Glacier National Park down to Flathead Lake and hike down. It's a great trip."

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