Blankenship reopened to tenting | Every day Inter Lake


Flathead National Forest has reopened the Blankenship gravel bar for overnight camping. The area has been closed to camping for the past few weeks due to high water levels.

The Forest Service is asking people to camp responsibly and abide by the regulations posted at the gravel bar.

“The gravel bar downstream of the Blankenship Bridge is a unique and beautiful site that offers riverside camping and access to the Wild and Scenic Flathead River. Please use the portable toilet facilities provided, never leave campfires unattended, follow food storage regulations, unpack all trash and respect the three day stay restriction,” said Rob Davies, ranger at Hungry Horse-Glacier View District. “Please recreate responsibly so that future generations can enjoy this page.”

A group of concerned residents calling themselves “Friends of the Flathead River” filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service on May 16, alleging that the agency violated the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Forest Service Organic Act and Administrative Procedures Act by allowing camping there.

They claim that there is a lack of supervision in the primitive camp, as well as problems with garbage and human waste. A federal judge recently heard arguments in the case. The lawsuit asks the court to close the camp while the case is heard.

The court has yet to rule on the matter.

In the meantime, the Forest Service asks people:

• Respect Wildlife – Learn about safe replicating in Bear County. Proper storage of bear chow is required.

• Dispose of waste properly – if you do not have a self-contained camping unit, please use the portable toilets provided. There is no garbage service in Blankenship so plan to take out the garbage.

• Minimize Campfire Effects – Campfires are permitted and the forest encourages campers to use fire pans or fire blankets. Please remember to ensure all campfires are extinguished when not in use.

• Be Considerate of Others – Please be kind to others and help create a safe and comfortable environment for all users.