BIGFORK — The North Shore of Flathead Lake between Bigfork and Somers is home to thousands of migrating birds this time of year.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) spokesman Dillon Tabish is warning the public to respect closures at Wildlife Production Areas on the north shore of Flathead Lake.
“To have a beautiful place like this remain intact and to keep its integrity intact, we need the public to follow these rules,” said Tabish.
That includes open beaches on the shoreline of waterfowl production areas as well as any private property including the popular Somers Beach Area, where FWP officials are in the process of purchasing 106 acres for the creation of a new state park.
“If we can hopefully create a state park on the west side of the beach then that will be another place where the public can go out and enjoy the beach. But for now, that’s private property and folks need to respect that private property and any closures that may be in effect there,” Tabish told MTN News.
The north shores of Flathead Lake are home to more than 200 species of migrating birds this time of year. Tabish explained the Waterfowl Production Areas are currently closed to any public use to limit the disturbance to resting migrating birds while also protecting nesting waterfowl.
“World-class waterfowl production area, it truly is, anybody who gets down there in the spring or fall to see the thousands and thousands of birds who rely [on[ and use that habitat, that’s for a reason because it’s such an amazing, pristine place but we really need the public's help to keep that intact,” said Tabish.
He said dogs are required to be on a leash on all fish, wildlife and parks property year-round except when hunting, "we really need dogs to stay on leash because dogs particularly can really disturb nesting waterfowl and really cause a lot of damage."
Tabish said one area where folks can still access the beach this time of year is at the north shore's Osprey View property along Holt Drive near Bigfork. “That provides a section of beach where people can go, it does border that federal site, so we just please need people to stay within those boundaries."
The Waterfowl Production Areas on the North Shore of Flathead Lake will remain closed through July 15.