Community members and project partners recently celebrated the addition of new lakeshore amenities and trail improvements at Smith Lake! Representatives from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, the City of Whitefish, Whitefish Legacy Partners, Forestoration, JD Thinning, and members of the public gathered at Smith Lake to officially open, celebrate, and enjoy the new trail down to the lake. With a lakeside bench, a viewing platform, and a dock for anglers, hand-carry boaters, and swimmers - quality lake access returns to Smith Lake! This project restores and improves public access to Smith Lake, protects the State's earthen safety dam at the foot of the lake, and rehabilitates areas of vegetation trampling and shoreline erosion.
These Smith Lake lakeshore improvements are the first phase of recreation development in the larger Swift Creek - Smith Lake project in partnership with the City of Whitefish and the DNRC. This recreation and conservation project plans to purchase the development rights off 615 acres around Smith Lake and Swift Creek with the State retaining ownership and ongoing sustainable timber management in perpetuity, and ensuring quality wildlife habitat, clean water, scenic viewsheds and public access forever. Our goal to protect the conservation values of the area with improved quiet, family-friendly recreation close to town is making progress after years of planning and fundraising.
As development pressures continue and property values continue to rise in Whitefish, WLP continues to work diligently to Close the Loop of the Whitefish Trail around Whitefish Lake now. The Smith Lake Project will forever protect Swift Creek and Smith Lake centered within the headwaters of Whitefish Lake.
Thank you Whitefish community for your ongoing support ensuring the Whitefish Trail and community conservation are a success.