Forest Service looks to allow bike guiding, ATV tours in the North Fork

by CHRIS PETERSON
Editor | April 24, 2020 11:53 AM

The Flathead National Forest is looking to allow expanded guiding and outfitting in the North Fork of the Flathead and in the Tally Lake Ranger District, offering special use permits for bike, van and ATV guided tours on open roads and trails in the area.

All told, Spotted Dog Cycles, Whitefish Shuttle Livery and Guided Services, Whitefish Bike Retreat Livery, and Northwest Adventure Sports Guided ATV Tours are all asking for permits for guiding in the North Fork.

Spotted Dog Cycles out of Missoula is seeking a permit to run a “bike packing” tour for one week that would stop in the Red Meadow area one night and then drop down into Polebridge.

Owner Joe Riemensnider said the entire tour, which will last six days in July, will cover about 150 miles, but only two are actually in the North Fork.

But the number of trips other businesses would be allowed wasn’t immediately available.

Here’s a look at the permits according to the Forest Service from what we know so far:

• Whitefish Shuttle is seeking a permit to provide guided day-use van tours, biking, and hiking on Forest Service system open roads and trails in the North Fork area of the Hungry Horse-Glacier View Ranger District and west of Highway 93 on the Tally Lake Ranger District. The permit would allow for shuttle services and guided van tours, biking, and hiking and between June 1 and Oct. 31 on various system roads and trails including Forest Service Roads 115, 376, 909, 317, 316, 315, 5207 and Forest Trails 40 and 266.

• Northwest Adventure Sports is requesting a permit to provide guided ATV tours on “various” open motorized system roads on the Tally Lake and Hungry Horse-Glacier View Ranger Districts. Roads currently requested include Forest Roads 9790, 1658, 316, 115. The permit would allow for guided trips from June 1 until Oct. 31.

• Whitefish Bike Retreat is requesting a permit to provide shuttle services for biking. The permits would allow for shuttle services between June 1 and Oct. 31. Forest system roads and trails currently requested are Forest Service Trails 800, 801, 294, 310 and Forest Roads 2942, 913, 313, 542.

There are other permit requests as well.

They include:

• The Kiwanis Club is requesting a permit for an ATV and motorbike fun run on system roads and trails on the Tally Lake Ranger District. The event would be held in one day in July and involve up to 40 participants. The trails include Forest Trails 210, 310, 9784, 538, 171, 172, 113, 538, 9784, 800, 310, 210. The roads include 538, 9784, 313, 2908, 60-A, 60, 2883, 2890, 113, 538B, 538. The event would begin and end off National Forest. No aid stations will be set up on the Flathead National Forest.

• The Foy’s to Blacktail Trail Marathon would allow for approximately 13 miles of a marathon to be run on existing roads, and trails within and surrounding the Blacktail Mountain Resort area. The permit would allow for up to 100 participants. The race would take place in one day.

• The Whitefish Legacy Partners have requested a special use permit to conduct an ultra-marathon foot race partially on the Flathead National Forest. On the forest, this race would be run on approximately 14 miles of existing National Forest System (NFS) roads and trails within the Whitefish Mountain Resort permit boundary.

• Powdered Soul requested a permit to hold a fun bike ride event on the Tally Lake Ranger District. The route will consist of various system roads and trails in the Reid Divide area.

There are different contacts for the projects:

Julie Gerrior for questions about the Whitefish Trails Ultra-Marathon, Powdered Soul Fun Bike Ride, Whitefish Shuttle Livery and Guiding, Whitefish Bike Retreat Livery, Journey to Wellness Program, Northwest Adventure Sports Guided ATV Tours, Action Rentals ATV Tours, and Kiwanis ATV & Motorbike Fun Run at 758-3542 or julie.gerrior@usda.gov. Comments on the project will be accepted through May 1, 2020. Comments can be sent to comments-northern-flathead-tally-lake@usda.gov.

For the bike tours, contact Sean Cranmer for questions at 758-5227 or sean.m.cranmer@usda.gov. Comments on the project will be accepted through May 1, 2020.