McGregor Lake in the Thompson Chain of Lakes west of Kalispell has traditionally offered fishing and boating opportunity for the public. But the public lost access to these public waters and lakeshore when a private landowner blocked the county road right-of-way.
McGregor Lake is popular with local anglers and boaters and has traditionally been accessed by the McGregor Lake Road and 64 acres of state land. These state lands provided access to a half mile of lakeshore. For decades, families have used the McGregor Lake Road to reach exceptional trout fishing, boating, and summer picnic locations.
A private land owner blocked the road in 2001, and built a home across the easement in 2005. Flathead County Commissioners resisted repeated requests from the public to open the easement. In 2011, a District Court decision clarified the county road easement. Then, the County bulldozed a single lane around the blockage. However, the road still passes too close to the home and homeowners inadvertently block it with trailers and other impediments.
Inaction by local elected officials pushed a local sportsmen’s organization to sue to fully restore access. Flathead Wildlife, Inc., a group of local advocates, led the effort to reopen the road. They will maintain a legal presence until Flathead County adopts and constructs a new right-of-way easement and appropriate two-lane road so the public can reach the lake.