Have you heard about the Holland Lake Lodge facility Expansion Project being proposed by the mega corporation POWDR? One of our newest ventures here at Growing Up Green is a side project called The Montana Connection. Our mission (in a nutshell) is to safeguard our Montana ways and traditions. Our family of 4 cherishes the beautiful outdoor experiences Montana provides and we want to assist other families in their MT outdoor adventures. We hope to help newcomers learn the importance of "keeping Montana Montana" and help others to embrace the way life has been here for generations. We decided there was no better way to launch The Montana Connection than to rally the troops and help preserve the Holland Lake area!
For those of you who have had the pleasure to spend time at Holland Lake, you understand how important it is that this proposal is denied. There are a lot of details surrounding this proposal that do not sit right with us. Not to mention the fact that we do not see this expansion benefiting regular Montanans who have recreated at this spot for generations.
As a good friend explained to me, the Forest Service is pushing this through as a categorical exclusion. No way does this merit a categorical exclusion and this is obvious grounds for a lawsuit. Likely the developer is interested to see if they can push it through as a CE and that way they won't have to wait for several years of analysis and lawsuits and pay for various resource specialists to do surveys. But this is a major project that will change the character of the area. It merits an Environmental Impact Statement. Also this is in the PCA, the Primary Conservation Area for grizzly bears in the northern Continental divide ecosystem. Land use on federal lands in that area faces the highest level of restriction, especially any increase in roads and encouraging more visitation that can lead to grizzly human conflicts. Which this clearly does. This is another important issue that needs to be brought out. This project is unlikely to just slide by on endangered species consultation. Another reason it should be an EIS, along with the extensive ground disturbance such as putting in fiber optic lines, sewage treatment, lots of new construction, road and trail development.
As taken from the official documents (which can be found here) "Holland Lake Lodge operates under the authority of a Resort/Marina Term Special Use Permit (USFS Authorization ID: SWA 456), with the USFS. The USFS may authorize Holland Lake Lodge, Inc. to implement these improvements. All activities would occur within the existing 15 acre permitted area. Based on a preliminary assessment, intentions are to categorically exclude the proposed project from documentation in an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment under 36 CFR 220.6(e)(22): Construction, reconstruction, decommissioning, or disposal of buildings, infrastructure, or improvements at an existing recreation site, including infrastructure or improvements that are adjacent or connected to an existing recreation site and provide access or utilities for that site. Recreation sites include but are not limited to campgrounds and camping areas, picnic areas, day use areas, fishing sites, interpretive sites, visitor centers, trailheads, ski areas, and observation sites. Activities within this category are intended to apply to facilities located at recreation sites managed by the Forest Service and those managed by concessioners under a special use authorization.
Introduction:The Holland Lake Lodge (HLL) operates under special use permit from the Forest. The Forest proposes to authorize HLL to replace, upgrade, and expand public services at Holland Lake. The proposed improvements are specifically identified in the accepted HLL Master Development Plan (MDP) dated April 15, 2022. All improvements would be confined to the special use permitted area which includes theHolland Lake wastewater system and spray field (Figure 2). Holland Lake Lodge currently consists of the old lakefront lodge (Old Lodge), a gift shop, six cabins and manager’s cabin. In total, the property can accommodate 50 overnight guests,12 employees, and the General Manager.
Tentative project implementationis scheduled to begin 2023 with full project implementation anticipated in one to five years (2024-2028). Holland Lake Lodge would initially be operated during the summer season, approximately May 15 to October 15. All new buildings would be winterized in anticipation of sufficient demand to operate during winter season, approximately November 20 to January 15 annually. Proposed expansion would provide overnight accommodations for up to 156 guests. Staff housing for up to 12 employees and five recreational vehicle spaces for employees equipped with electrical and sewer hookups The HLL General Manager in the Manager’s residence would remain on site unaltered in its current location (Figure 3). Further detail on proposed activities may be found in the Holland Lake Lodge Master Development Plan
New constructed facilities would include:
1.Bob Marshall Lodge (28 rooms, two-story, 13,000 square feet)
2. 10 lake cabins (650 square feet each)
3.16 smaller studio cabins (250 square feet each)
4. New Welcome Center (2,000 square feet, single-story building) for check in and retail5. The Mission Mountains Restaurant (3,000 square feet) would be constructed adjacent to the OldLodge, separated by a breezeway. The proposed Mission Mountains Restaurant would haveindoor seating capacity for 100 guests. Outdoor seating would also be available for an additional 30 guests when the weather allows for it. The new kitchen will be designed to serve three times asmany meals as the current kitchen.
6. Small watersport building (400 square feet)
7. New support buildings which would include a maintenance building (2,000 square feet) and employee housing (2,000 square feet)