Bigfork Area Outdoor Recreation Plan

Project Description

The Purpose

To support health and wellness, economic vitality, and quality of life for residents and visitors through the creation of a Bigfork Area Outdoor Recreation PlanThe project will inventory existing and potential recreation destinations and connections in Bigfork, vicinity, and N. Flathead Lake region, and recommend goals and objectives for sustainable recreation use. It will serve as a community-led road map for a safe, connected, sustainable high-quality recreation access system to Bigfork’s world-class rivers, mountains, and Flathead Lake which are a key competitive advantage for attracting and retaining resident businesses and employees, quality of life, and sustainable tourism. The plan will also increase grant competitiveness for increased infrastructure and other recreation/transportation funding sources.

The Value


  • Community Vitality and Health  Understand and advance the community’s relationship to the greater trail systems and increase recreational amenities. The economic value is derived from creating a more livable community to retain and attract a resident population, which has been aging over the last decade. Additionally, the value of the improvements for the local population will invite sustainability for the project. 
  • Economic Vitality Packaging outdoor recreation as a quality-of-life enhancement help to retain or recruit businesses and residents. Additionally, using trails and recreation access as a way to attract and retain visitors supporting the hospitality industry. We anticipate that the project will support a continued increase in Main Street and hospitality business revenue.

The Approach

Bigfork Approach

Formation of Bigfork Outdoor Recreation Alliance

October 27, 2022

The Bigfork Outdoor Recreation Alliance (BORA) seeks to enhance outdoor recreation experiences in Bigfork to improve quality of life, economic vitality, and health and wellness.​ Members include the U.S. Forest Service, PacifiCorp, Flathead Lake Lodge, Community Foundation for a Better Bigfork, Bigfork Chamber of Commerce, Bigfork Rotary, Whitney Family, Montana FWP, Flathead Land Trust, and the Trust…

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Project Feature: Bug Creek Integrated Resource Management Project

August 30, 2022

Located roughly 2 air miles south of Bigfork (Crane Mountain area), this recently approved project will create or designate approximately 17 miles of non-motorized trail and add two new trailheads. In addition to providing new recreational opportunities, this project will reduce fuels and fire intensities in the WUI and improve diversity and resiliency of vegetative…

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Project Area

MicrosoftTeams-image (4)

The Team




Diane Conradi is the founder/CEO of Montana Access Project. As an experienced attorney, founder and advisor to Whitefish Legacy Partners/Whitefish Trail, Montana State Parks Foundation, and appointed member to Montana's first State Parks and Recreation Board she has in-depth experience in creating, enhancing and sustaining high quality nature-based recreation access that supports economic vitality, community health and quality of life for residents and visitors alike.




Kathleen McMahon has 35 years of community planning experience. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois and a Masters Degree in Educational Technology from George Washington University. She is a member of the Montana Association of Planners, the American Institute of Certified Planners, and Montana Economic Development Association.




Lech Naumovich has been promoting conservation and restoration awareness through science, community involvement, media, public speaking. He earned a Master’s Degree in Restoration and Landscape Ecology from the Yale School for the Environment and then subsequently took his talents to work for various agencies including the US Forest Service, BLM, Fort Hunter Liggett – USARC, California Native Plant Society, as well as starting a restoration ecology non-profit named Golden Hour Restoration Institute.

Project Partners

Bigfork Outdoor Recreation Alliance (BORA) Members

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