POWDR must move on from Holland Lake after so many problems

December 12, 2022 4:32 am

A sign at Holland Lake Lodge (Photo courtesy of Jen Nave).

I’m writing to urge the United States Forest Service to do the right thing.

A ritzy basecamp for adventure lifestyle, “live to play” tourists from all over the world is not the best use of public lands in the Swan Valley. 

Holland Lake Lodge is a small, rustic resort and does not need to be further developed, gentrified and destroyed. It needs only to be refurbished to continue the tradition and culture it represents. Powdr will take that away forever, and they will commercialize a Montana valley that doesn’t need or want it.

The current permit holder has gotten away with too many permit violations over the years. The process he has been trying to use to sell to POWDR, a Utah-based company, doesn’t follow existing rules and regulations. It is a sham, a shell game. The public exposed the true character of POWDR and the current permit holder. Thankfully, the Save Holland Lake group, made up of members of the public and experts in their respective fields, shared many developer shenanigans with the Forest Service.

The amount of deception over this permit and proposal is staggering.

There should be no new plan coming from Powdr/HLL Inc. The Forest Service must recognize that the special use permit was terminated by the holder.  It should now be advertised for anyone to apply. Holland Lake Lodge and other buildings have not been properly maintained.  The lodge operator made money, but chose not to reinvest in these historic gems. There is a viable business possible without expanding.  Other options should be explored and POWDR should buy private land for their 13,000 square-foot resort hotel, 3,000 square-foot restaurant, 26 cabins and “bunkies,” welcome center, floating docks, parking lots, etc. 

The public interest will be best served by a leaseholder who appreciates and respects Montana traditions and the culture of a true lodge.  There’s plenty of access for overnight recreation in the Flathead National Forest. Numerous resorts, dude ranches, campgrounds, and vacation rentals are available for people to enjoy nature and access to public forests and trails year round. There are better alternatives than a POWDR resort on our public land.  

People across the county, state and our nation are banding together to stop this assault on our values. A lodge with adjacent campgrounds needs to blend the two together. The current lodge owner divided them, put up no trespassing signs all over, and even illegally fenced them off. These actions are not only wrong, but they constitute multiple violations of the permit.  

We have one chance to restore, rectify and get this done right. The American public needs your support.

I’m writing to plead with you to put corporate interests aside and do right by public lands in the Swan Valley and Montana. The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The American people need you to step up and protect our public land.  

Let’s keep the Swan Valley what it is: A true American treasure, part of “The Last Best Place.”

A POWDR resort is not in the public interest.

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Jennifer Nave
Jennifer Nave

Jennifer Nave has lived in Montana for over 25 years and is a proud member of the grassroots organization, Save Holland Lake, which was formed to protect the public land at Holland Lake from corporate development.