288-Flathead Valley, Montana
Situated between Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake, in the northwest corner of Montana, just west of the Continental Divide, the Flathead Valley is a federally protected, breathtaking, scenic, recreational treasure. Locals call the valley “Flathead” and it is sheltered by the Salish Mountains to the west, and the Whitefish, Swan and Mission Ranges to the east. The largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, Flathead Lake, is responsible for keeping the valley watered. Kalispell is the largest city in the Flathead Valley and is a commercial hub, and provides access to Wild Horse Island State Park.
The earliest inhabitants of northwestern Montana were several Native American tribes, including the Flathead (or Salish), Pend d'Oreille (or Kalispel), and Kootenai tribes, who as a result of the Hellgate Treaty of 1855 established the Flathead Indian Reservation in the lower Flathead Valley. The Kootenai tribes, for example, carried out much of their activity in the Tobacco Plains area, located along the Kootenai River. They hunted seasonally at Flathead Lake before 1850, where they sought bison and deer from the eastern Rocky slopes, and during the fur trade era, they established trade relations with the North West Company, trading bison and fur with white traders.
Guarded by the mountain ranges, the Flathead’s microclimates makes for mild weather year- round, and is nurturing to a variety of plants that grows in the Valley and its vicinity. Along the country byways are grasses (e.g. needlegrass, junegrass, timber oatgrass, bluebunch wheatgrass, pinegrass), ferns (e.g. bracken, beech, moonwort), tree and shrubs (e.g. aspen, western hemlock, western red cedar, white spruce, white pine, Douglas Fur, juniper, huckleberry, larch, subalpine fir) , and wildflowers (e.g. glacier lilies, clematis, Indian pipes, purple aster).
Regarded as the western gateway to Glacier National Park, Flathead Valley is adjacent to acres upon acres of federal wilderness, the Great Bear - Bob Marshall Wilderness complex, and is in close proximity to other nature highlights, including the National Bison Range and the Jewel Basin Hiking Area. This means that there is a host of activities that you can enjoy in the Flathead Valley and its vicinity, including hiking, backpacking, paddle-boarding swimming, boating, rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, skiing, hunting, and fishing. You can enjoy scenic vistas, trail ride into the backcountry, birdwatching, cherry picking, and in winter, skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Flathead Valley is a place of natural splendor and inviting recreational activities for all those who love what northwestern Montana has to offer.
All sizes are approximate.
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