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Flathead Lake State Park alternatives for easement

State agencies propose permanent easement for Big Arm State Park
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Posted at 8:44 AM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-04 16:28:51-05

KALISPELL — A pair of state agencies have agreed to purchase a permanent recreation easement for Big Arm State Park along Flathead Lake.

The park is located on State School Trust property that is leased annually by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

Big Arm State Park provides public recreation and lake access in the Big Arm Bay of Flathead Lake in Lake County, about 18 miles north of Polson.

The first alternative proposes the purchase of a permanent recreation easement for the existing 218-acre park for the appraised value of $8.06 million.

A second alternative proposes the purchase of a permanent recreation easement for the existing 218-acre park plus approximately 23 acres of adjoining state school trust land that would expand the park on its southern boundary. The cost for this alternative would be the appraised value of $10.63 million.

By creating a permanent recreation easement with a one-time payment, DNRC and FWP mutually agree that this proposal would fulfill the mission for DNRC of generating revenue to support education in Montana, while providing FWP the ability to provide continued management of the property as a public recreation and lake access facility.

FWP would pay full market value of the property for a permanent recreation easement. Funding would be broken up into a variety of potential (state, federal and private) sources, including FWP’s general license account, Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson federal aid, state parks earned revenue, Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The 2019 Montana Legislature approved House Bill 695, which authorizes FWP to spend up to $12 million to purchase a permanent recreation easement on the Big Arm site from DNRC.

There have been two drafts of environmental analysis which are available for review, and open for public input, through Jan. 3, 2019. Click here for more information or to leave a public comment.