With winter oh-so-slowly unwinding, the amount of pressure on Flathead Lake is still far from overwhelming.

So, the early stages of this closure likely don't affect too many outdoor recreation enthusiasts. But then come spring and summer, when the nature hikes, shore fishing, dog walking, canoe paddling and many more activities start to get into high gear. That's when it's critical to be aware of seven miles of Flathead Lake's shore that are still off limits.


Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has announced that the seasonal closure along the north shore of Flathead Lake between Somers and Bigfork is now in effect, as of March 1. The closure is to help support migrating and nesting birds. This is an annual closure that runs through July 15. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flathead Wildlife Protection Agency property closes to public access annually to reduce human disturbances during the breeding, nesting and rearing periods. This closure includes the open beaches along the shoreline.


Montana FWP tells us that this is a critical area for migrating birds to "rest and nest." The north shore of Flathead Lake supports an abundant variety of birds year-round, but especially during migration. Tens of thousands of waterfowl species rely on the area’s grassland and wetland habitats. More than 200 bird species use the area.

Further, FWP emphasizes that human disturbance, such as walking near birds or nesting areas or letting dogs run off their leashes, can cause serious harm. Human activities disrupt breeding and non-breeding birds by interrupting vital activities such as feeding and resting.


Public access to the north shore beach remains open at the Montana FWP Somers Beach State Park and Osprey View property along Holt Drive near Bigfork. Parking is limited along Holt Drive. And dogs must be kept on a leash at Somers Beach State Park and Osprey View.

So, north shore fans, just know before you go. Plenty of additional info is available for you on this FWP State Park page.

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