The Flathead National Forest is attempting to approve a mega-expansion of the Holland Lake Lodge facilities on public land without informed public input and with no Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement. Tell the Flathead NOW to back up and start again!
--- UPDATE 11/23/22: According to the Missoulian, the Flathead has sent POWDR Corp. back to the drawing board to fix its Master Development Plan, but POWDR intends to resubmit its MDP largely unchanged and the Flathead has not rescinded the current Special Use Permit - which says on its face that it can't be transferred to POWDR.
--- UPDATE 10/15/22: According to the Daily Montanan, the Flathead received over 6,500 public comments, with 99% of them opposed to the mega-expansion! Stay tuned, the Flathead has not given up on this illconceived idea!
--- UPDATE 9/15/22: The public comment period has been extended to October 7, but it is still important to ask for a full 60-day comment period and make the other points listed below or in our latest comment letter.
Here is a good article about how public comment is running so far and you can see for yourself at https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public//ReadingRoom?Project=61746 where there are currently over 2,000 comments, mostly against this mega-expansion! The Flathead is also holding another public meeting, this time at the Seeley Lake Elementary School on Tuesday, October 4, from 5:30 - 7:30pm; or you can join the meeting online ---
The new development will be managed by the Lodge's joint venture partner POWDR, "an adventure lifestyle company" based in Park City, Utah, and owner of Park City Mountain Resort. The mega-development would be allowed under a Special Use Permit for 15 acres of public land, will dwarf the historic lodge and will destroy the rustic natural character of Holland Lake and the upper Swan Valley! New constructed facilities would include:
1. Bob Marshall Lodge (28 rooms, two-story, 13,000 square feet)
2. 10 lake cabins (650 square feet each)
3. 16 smaller studio cabins (250 square feet each)
4. New Welcome Center (2,000 square feet, single-story building) for check in and retail
5. The Mission Mountains Restaurant (3,000 square feet) would be constructed adjacent to the Old Lodge, separated by a breezeway. The proposed Mission Mountains Restaurant would have indoor seating capacity for 100 guests. Outdoor seating would also be available for an additional 30 guests when the weather allows for it. The new kitchen will be designed to serve three times as many meals as the current kitchen.
6. Small watersport building (400 square feet)
7. New support buildings which would include a maintenance building (2,000 square feet) and employee housing (2,000 square feet)
This mega-expansion was announced September 1, right before Labor Day weekend, but the Forest Service wants public comments by September 21! Please insist on adequate time for public review and on adequate environmental review via the Flathead's electronic comment form at
Here are some points you might want to make:
1. The Holland Lake Lodge Master Development Plan was not made publicly available on the Flathead's web site until September 6. The public needs plenty of time to review this 36-page document and the Forest Service's 16-page "scoping" document.
2. The scoping document is dead wrong to presume this mega-development can be "categorically excluded" from the prior preparation of an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement. Such shortcuts are intended for constructing an outhouse or a tool shed, not a destination resort!
3. Before Big Mountain was allowed to expand its ski area in 1995, the Flathead rightly prepared an Environmental Impact Statement on whether it should be allowed under that ski area Special Use Permit.
4. Before the Flathead allowed the Big Mountain ski area to expand ski lift facilities in Hellroaring Basin in 2019, it prepared an Environmental Assessment to be certain it should be allowed under the Special Use Permit.
5. The Flathead must provide 60 days for public comments on these Holland Lake "scoping" documents and then prepare an Environmental Impact Statement that fully assesses the potential impacts of this mega-development on this historic, rustic area and its natural ecosystems.
The Flathead is holding a public information meeting at the Holland Lake Lodge grounds from 5 - 7pm on Thursday, September 8th.
The Flathead's Holland Lake Lodge Facility Expansion Project documents can be viewed and downloaded at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=61746 .
You can read our initial comment letter here and our more detailed comment letter here.
THANK YOU for taking a few moments to insure there is adaquate public involvement and environmental review of this proposed mega-expansion!