Monday, July 14, 2014

Flathead Perceptions

About 21 years ago (also in the July vacation season) Jane visited this part of Montana and loved the emptiness, the clean air, the naturalness, the absence of people.
A lot has changed. 
We drove the whole circumference of Flathead Lake yesterday.  Everywhere was packed with people.  There was nowhere to stop save for Safeway's parking lot, and that too was almost full.
It seems as though Montana has not adapted to, nor accommodated, the growth and demands of the permanent population, the seasonal population, and the vacation hordes. 
Around the lake there are few access points, much of the land being either reservation or privately owned.  The State Parks are woefully short on space - minimal parking for day use, and cramped camping sites - inevitably leading to frequent displays of obnoxious and/or inconsiderate human behavior.
As we journey to other parts of the state it will be interesting to see if this problem is ubiquitous.
The one bright spot yesterday came about when we found the only place to stop was Safeway - I picked up a six-pack of Moose Drool, which as it happens turns out to be a pretty decent beer!

1 comment:

  1. I remember those days of open spaces, fishing, and fun, back in 1981 when I was just 16 years old. What a time it was. I learned to fly fish there for a whole month in Bozeman, Livingston, and other places. Over the years I have heard similar stories as you have discovered; the overrun of the parks, the crowds during the high season, and the sense that the loss of "Big Sky" country is no longer a friendly place to get away from it all. I did also hear that private, corporate entities have bought up huge tracks of land, riparian rights, and such, for "retreats" for company folks, further crimping the accessibility of the average guy out for a good time in nature. I remember also in Livingston, rows of women hand tying fly fishing flies to fill walk in and mostly mail order customers from around the world. The place was called Dan Bailey's; now that production is in China.