FWP Considers Pair of Lake Five Proposals

Donation of property would nearly triple fishing access site shoreline; petition aims to restrict wake on lake

By Micah Drew
Lake Five in West Glacier on May 29, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is seeking public input on a proposed land donation that would expand the only public access to Lake Five near West Glacier.

Currently, Paul’s Memorial Fishing Access Site (FAS) is the only public access to the 164-acre Lake Five — the rest of the shoreline is privately owned. The FAS is managed for day-use and includes an access road, parking area, boat ramp, boat dock, swim dock and vault toilet. The access site only has 150 feet of lake frontage, despite comprising 10 acres of land, leading to crowding around the docks and boat ramp, according to FWP officials.

A private family that owns land abutting the FAS has proposed donating four acres of property to FWP, which would include an additional 250 feet of shoreline. The property will be subject to a life estate held by a member of the donor’s family, meaning FWP will not take possession of the property until the death of that family member.

FWP is not proposing any developments or improvements on the additional property, which would be accessible by walk-in from the existing FAS parking lot.

The proposed donation is outlined in a draft environmental assessment that is available to read at https://fwp.mt.gov/binaries/content/assets/fwp/news/public-notices/2022/region-1/pauls-memorial-fas-checklist-ea-draft.pdf. Comments can be submitted to FWP through 5 p.m., Jan. 15, 2023, by email to [email protected], or by mail to Tony Powell, 490 N. Meridian, Kalispell, MT 59901.

FWP’s Fish and Wildlife Commission will also consider a petition to restrict boating activity on Lake Five to “no wake surfing” at their February meeting.

The petition, submitted by Lindsay Bennett and Dan Simonson, is for FWP to adopt a new rule prohibiting wake surfing and the use of ballast tanks and “devices to increase wake size on Lake Five” for all times of the year, and limit Lake Five to “no wake” restrictions from April 1 to July 15.

The petitioners cite the size of the lake, shoreline erosion, the presence of nesting Common Loons in the springtime and the lake’s fishing appeal as reasons for the rule change.

The petition can be viewed online at https://fwp.mt.gov/binaries/content/assets/fwp/commission/2022/dec-16/lake-five-rulemaking-petition/lake-five-rulemaking-petition.pdf

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