SOMERS - A new 106-acre State Park is officially up and running on the shores of Flathead Lake.
“It’s going to be preserved for generations to come,” said Gov. Greg Gianforte.
Somers Beach State Park is officially open to the public on the Northwest Shore of Flathead Lake.
A large crowd gathered for the celebration, including Gianforte.
“A half-mile of beach on Flathead Lake now permanently protected and accessible to the public. This is a great day,” said Gianforte.
The new state park is years in the making and made possible by the Sliter family who has owned the land since the 1930s.
“Deliver on the public's wishes through a very public process of input and thoughtful consideration to really make amazing things happen here in Somers,” said former landowner Andrea Sliter Goudge.
Sliter Goudge said her family worked tirelessly with Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) and community organizations to make sure coveted lakeshore on Flathead Lake remains open to the public.
She said her late father helped start this dream decades ago.
“He really felt like there would be a public outcry with as many limited spaces as there are for the public to access the water, and boy my dad would have been 75 yesterday, and dad, we made it happen,” added Sliter Goudge.
Somers Beach State Park is day-use only, all dogs must be on a leash and fires are not permitted.
Construction of a designated parking lot and restrooms will begin in the coming weeks.
“Just looking at the opportunity to come here and spend the day as we do this stuff, it’s just amazing to me, it’s a beautiful part of the state and we might as well showcase it,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Director Hank Worsech.
FWP Director Hank Worsech said the park showcases the beauty of Flathead Lake and the giving spirit of Montanan's, "as Hope says it goes down in perpetuity, I mean this will have grandkids someday being able to come here, and what a beautiful spot when you look around."