KALISPELL - Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is kicking off a public planning process to help guide future use and development of the new Somers Beach State Park on Flathead Lake.
This process will begin with a virtual public information meeting on March 16 at 6 p.m. Information on the meeting and planning process are available online at https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/somers-beach-planning-project.
The overall planning process is expected to take several months, according to FWP.
During the initial stage, FWP will conduct public scoping through a survey that is posted online and asks general questions about preferences, interests, and ideas for the site. The survey will be available through April 15.
“This scoping survey will help create some baseline information to initiate our planning process for Somers Beach,” said regional parks and outdoor recreation manager Dave Landstrom. “Public participation is extremely important to an informed planning process.”
Throughout this planning process, FWP hopes to engage with a diverse set of residents, current and prospective park users, subject matter experts, and key stakeholders, a news release states. FWP will conduct surveys, hold in-person and virtual meetings, and gather necessary data from a variety of sources to help develop a vision for Somers Beach.
Later in the year, FWP will organize additional rounds of public feedback to narrow in on a site development proposal. A final planning document will be issued for additional public input before a recommendation is forwarded to the State Parks and Recreation Board for final approval.
FWP notes the overall goal is to find a balance between providing safe, enjoyable recreational experiences with protecting fish, wildlife, habitat, and heritage resources.
FWP acquired the 106-acre Somers Beach property on the northwest shore of Flathead Lake in October of 2021 with plans to add it to Montana’s state park system. For more information, visit https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/somers-beach-planning-project.