While far from the peak season, Flathead Lake is a beloved destination for outdoor recreation fans year-round.

And as you know, humans aren't the only species that likes to partake in all that Flathead Lake has to offer. And it's the time of year we are asked to give some of the winged tourists their space.


Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks tells us that the seasonal closure of a large portion of the north shore of Flathead Lake runs from March 1 all the way through July 15 to support  migrating and nesting birds. It's estimated that over 200 bird species use the area.

This is known as the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Flathead Waterfowl Production Area. This critical shoreline along the north end of Flathead Lake spans 7 miles.

There is nothing new to the policy. This federal property closes to public access annually to reduce human disturbances during the breeding, nesting, and brood-rearing periods. This closure includes the open beaches along the shoreline of the lake.


Montana FWP says that shoreline and offshore habitats are critical for migrating birds to rest and nest. The north shore of Flathead Lake supports an abundant variety of birds year-round, particularly during migration when tens of thousands of mixed waterfowl species rely on the area’s grasslands, wetlands, and shrub habitats.

FWP reminds us that human disturbances, such as walking near birds or nesting areas or letting dogs run off leash, can cause serious harm during these vulnerable periods. These types of 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. Access at both sites is restricted to state land and the section of beach that is state land.

If interested, you can learn more about the closure here.

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