Upgrades Approved for Wayfarers State Park

State parks division recommends building a ranger station with public restrooms at the park

By Beacon Staff

Montana State Parks announced last week that Wayfarers State Park near Bigfork will get new improvements on site, after considering public comment on the project.

The decision notice from the state parks department recommends moving forward with development of a ranger station with public restrooms on the south side of the park’s entrance road.

In addition, the parks department will also move forward with converting the existing, outdated Harry Horn public restrooms to a seasonal park host site and will enlarge the existing park maintenance area in its current location.

Upgrading and updating the park in this manner will work for the public and the neighboring properties, the department said, because “visitor safety is best served by directing ranger station traffic away from the busy entrance booth,” and placing a ranger station in that location will give it the best buffering from neighboring properties while being easily accessible to visitors entering and leaving the park.

While making the decision on the project, Montana State Parks determined there would be no significant impacts on the human or physical environment.

This upgrade is the first of two proposed for the park; the second would include a new group picnic shelter to be built in the day use area near the lakeshore. In conjunction with the new picnic shelter, the current upper day use parking lot would be expanded to accommodate an additional eight to 10 vehicles.

The parks department intends on moving forward with phase two when the money is available. Phase one was projected to cost $344,000.

This decision notice action is subject to appeal, which must be submitted to Montana State Parks’ Administrator in writing and postmarked by Aug. 11.

Wayfarers State Park is one of five state parks providing public access to Flathead Lake. In 2013, Wayfarers State Park had more than 124,900 visits, up 11 percent over the prior year.

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