SOMERS - Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is asking for public input regarding potential development plans — including overnight use — at Somers Beach State Park.
Public comment is being accepted until Feb. 13 on a draft development plan on the 106-acre state park on the north shore of Flathead Lake near Somers. Somers Beach officially became a state park last spring following a multi-year process.
“It’s a special piece of property for a lot of folks and we want to make sure that we’re developing it wisely and being good stewards of that land, and so that’s why all along with this process we’ve tried to keep the public involved,” said FWP spokesman Dillon Tabish.
Tabish said possible outcomes include no development at the park, day-use facilities only, or limited overnight opportunities — including accommodations at three small cabins on the park’s west side and up to six small tent pads on the east side.
The 12-foot by 12-foot cabins would be available for nightly rental through the state park’s campsite reservation system, while the 10-foot by 10-foot tent pads would be available on a first-come, first-served basis to anyone arriving on foot, bicycle, or other non-motorized means, such as by kayak.
Overnight vehicle parking at the main parking lot would be prohibited.
“Over 50% of the folks staying in our campgrounds on our state parks on Flathead Lake are residents of Montana, and residents of Montana love their state parks, they love enjoying these amenities like Flathead Lake," Tabish said. "And so, Somers Beach State Park looks to really be a part of that system, be a part of that experience for families and friends to get together and experience something as amazing as Flathead Lake."
Tabish said limited overnight use on a small portion of park property is FWP's preferred alternative for development.
“We have a huge demand for camping. And so where we can we our proposing camping opportunities for folks? At Somers Beach it’s in a very limited fashion, it would be among the smallest kind of camping opportunities in our state parks system,' Tabish explained. "But it’s something and so we’re trying to strike a compromise there for folks who didn’t want camping on the site and folks who did want camping on the site."
Tabish said construction of any proposed development could start as soon as this spring or early summer.
Comments can be submitted online at https://fwp.mt.gov/news/public-notices, or in writing to Somers Beach State Park Development Proposal EA, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 490 N. Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901, or via e-mail to Stevie.Burton@mt.gov.
FWP will host a virtual informational meeting on Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. to explain the development options and answer questions. Information on this meeting is posted online at https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/somers-beach-planning-project.