The Whitefish Face Working Group has been working towards advancing the goals of the Whitefish Range Partnership on the Whitefish Face – the southernmost portion of the Whitefish Range. This covers the federal land from Trumble Canyon Road, west to Werner Peak Road, including the land within Whitefish Mountain Resort. The project primarily deals with the southern slope in that area - in other words, the southern front of the Whitefish Range. The Working Group includes representatives from the City of Whitefish, Stoltze Land and Lumber, Whitefish Mountain Resort, Whitefish Legacy Partners, the Flathead Snowmobile Association, and others interested in the project.
The goal of the Working Group was threefold:
Preserve and protect the watershed in the area, as it is the primary source of drinking water for the City of Whitefish
Conduct logging operations. The proposals regarding logging are partially commercial in nature, and partly to mitigate the risk of wildfire in the area, which could (among other things) detrimentally impact the watershed.
Improve recreational access. Outside of the permitted area of Whitefish Mountain Resort, there are very few sanctioned trails on the National Forest in the area of the Whitefish Face, however there is tremendous potential for recreation in the area.
Flathead Area Mountain Bikers, along with Whitefish Mountain Resort, Whitefish Legacy Partners, and others interested in recreational access, formed a proposal for an expansion of trails across the Whitefish Face. The trails would primarily be non-motorized, multi-use trails that would connect to Whitefish Mountain Resort’s trail network as well as the Whitefish Trail network.
As mentioned above, the project includes commercial logging, significant fuels reduction efforts to minimize fire risk, and recreation components. The recreation components of this project include the construction (or reconstruction) of approximately 28 miles of trail to the north and west of Whitefish Mountain Resort.
FAMB strongly supported this project, and the proposed trails would provide a spectacular addition to the trail network in the area. The trails as proposed were approved by the Forest Service administrator, but the approval was withdrawn when an error was found is a separate part of the project. As of Spring, 2019, the status of the project is in flux, but FAMB remains confident that approval will come through.