Club seeks parking lot for skiing

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The Glacier Nordic Club is hoping to add a new access point to the Big Mountain Nordic Trails via Haskill Basin.

The club has applied for a conditional use permit with Flathead County on behalf of F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Co. to allow for a “low impact recreational facility” on property within the Haskill Basin Estates Zoning District.

A parking lot with room for 10 to 12 vehicles would be established off Haskill Creek Road, about three miles from Whitefish, GNC Executive Director Cameron Blake said.

“What we are trying to do is provide another access to the Big Mountain Nordic trails,” Blake said. “Currently the only access is at the new Big Mountain trailhead that we share with Legacy Partners, and this would just provide another way to get into those trails.”

The property is zoned AG-20 for agricultural use, and currently a gated trail sits on the property.

That gate would be moved to allow for the parking lot, and the new Nordic trailhead would connect to the trail system within a mile to the west.

Blake said the new trailhead has been on the radar for a few years.

“We’ve looked at it for a couple years, saying, ‘Wouldn’t this make a lot of sense if we could connect and just give people another access to get into those trails and some different terrain?’ Right now you can ski down there from the upper trailhead but it’s a pretty long haul to get down and back up and out,” she said.

Blake also noted that the trails will always be kept free, and recreation is a key part of what the land was set aside for.

“These trails are part of the conservation easement, the land that both the trailhead is going in on and where the trail will be is part of the Haskill Basin Conservation Easement, which is preserved and recreation is part of it, but we will never charge for use of any of those trails,” she said.

She added that the club was also awarded grant money from the Montana Department of Tourism to buy a Sno-Cat Groomer to open up more skiing areas in the future.

The CUP request will go before the Flathead County Board of Adjustment at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4. The meeting will be in the second floor conference room of the South Campus Building, 40 11th Street West in Kalispell.

More information is available at https://flathead.mt.gov/planning_zoning/boardofadjustment.php.

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