Will Bears Be Scared by Larger Holland Lake Lodge? County Wants Review
Worried about everything from water quality to wildlife, Missoula County commissioners are asking the U.S. Forest Service to do a full environmental review of the controversial proposal to expand Holland Lake Lodge.
Utah-based recreation company POWDR is proposing to restore the historic lodge, while also adding buildings and improving aging water and sewer systems. But the plan has drawn heated opposition from Swan Valley residents and others who worry the nature of the scenic lake will be changed.
Thursday, county commissioners wrote a 3-page letter urging the Forest Service to take a closer look at the environmental impacts of the proposal.
Commissioners Fear Larger Lodge Means More Conflicts With Grizzly Bears
Commissioners say their "primary concern" about excluding the expansion from review in an Environmental Assessment, or full Environmental Impact Statement. The county says the POWDR project could impact at least four threatened or endangered species, including grizzlies and bull trout.
Commissioners worry the expanded lodge would bring even more people to the lake, increasing conflicts between people and bears. The county also cites water quality impacts, displacement of local residents' enjoyment of Holland Lake, and problems with the substandard public boat launch.
Finally, the board says Holland Lake Lodge is a "treasured site for the community and across the region", saying the agency's consideration of the project "deserves a high level of transparency."
Flathead National Forest officials are going to extend the public comment period on the project for another month, and it could be next spring before any decision is made. So far more than 5,000 people have already commented on the expansion.