Unfinished Business…The Whitefish Trail’s Beaver Lake Initiative

Excerpt from a Letter to the Editor by Hank Ricklefs to the Whitefish Pilot, 6.25.2014

Kudos to the City of Whitefish, The Trust for Public Land, and F.H. Stoltze for a very informative, energetic and successful public meeting on June 17th to unveil a major conservation and recreation initiative in Haskill Basin.  This project will require thoughtful funding from both the public sector and from private philanthropy.  Local fundraising efforts will be guided by Whitefish Legacy Partners (The Whitefish Trail group), and the Haskill Basin project will provide another segment to our unique Whitefish Trail.  The project will generate positive community benefits for decades to come, and deserves strong support.

But before we all leap forward to Haskill Basin as the next project, we have important existing recreation/conservation business to conclude.  Whitefish Legacy Partners has secured a permanent recreation/conservation easement on roughly 1,500 acres of State Lands in the Beaver Lakes area, and we still have approximately $750,000 of private support to raise in order to finalize permanent public access on the Whitefish Trail from Lion Mountain to Beaver Lakes.  Following the generous support of philanthropist Michael Goguen, who underwrote three-quarters of the total easement cost, WLP has committed to raise the balance of nearly $2 million.  We are on the home stretch, but we still have $750,000 to go in order to achieve our target of making the final payment to the State DNRC by year-end 2014.  This can only be accomplished with YOUR SUPPORT, whether large or small.

I am writing today to ask you to support this cause by making a donation, becoming a “Whitefish Trail Friend (or Family)”, signing up to sponsor a section of trail for three years, pledging your business to become a corporate sponsor, and attending one of the many fundraising events planned this summer and fall (mark your calendar for the annual Hootenanny August 22, 2014).

WLP needs to finish the Beaver Lakes Initiative in 2014 to be ready to take advantage of the next community opportunities on our horizon including Spencer Mountain and Haskill Basin.

With 26 miles of trail completed and a goal of a 55+ mile recreational loop trail, this user supported recreation asset not only provides fun and health benefits to our community, it has also become a destination amenity for visitors from around the country (and world) which means economic development and stability for Whitefish.

Be part of this community vision and success by partnering with us, donating, volunteering and enjoying. It’s ON… the Whitefish Trail!

Hank Ricklefs – Whitefish

WLP Board Member