A partnership between the non-profit American Rivers, Pursuit's West Glacier Village and Backslope Brewery in Columbia Falls honored and celebrated the river. Regular pint nights brought the community together to connect with the river. Each pint night featured a different beer, and a portion of sales from every pint purchased went towards American Rivers.
Photo: American Rivers' Kascie Herron feels energized by the Flathead and the community that supports it.
"It's a really exciting partnership," says Kascie Herron, Conservation Advocate for American Rivers. "One I hope we can continue in the future."
For Pursuit, which owns and operates a number of properties in the area including the new West Glacier RV Park and the legendary Freda's Bar in West Glacier, it was about helping connect guests with this special place.
"We see thousands of people every day coming to Glacier," says Pursuit's Danny McIntosh. "If we can help show every guest who comes here how valuable this river is, how important clean rivers are, we all win in the long run."
The fact that the Flathead is protected has a huge impact in the beer that's brewed at Backslope Brewing in nearby Columbia Falls.
"Water is one of the vital ingredients to making beer and we have an amazing water source right here with the Flathead—and we don't even have to treat the water," says Backslope's Carla Fisher, who owns and operates the brewery with her husband Darin. "Having that clean, clear water resource is important not just for recreation and for local businesses, but also for what we're putting in our bodies. We're strongly in support of protecting our rivers."
Wild and Protected now and forever
It's because of this designation that the Middle Fork of the Flathead River looks so similar to how it did during Rich Thompson's youth. He'd take his bike down to the iconic "Old Belton Bridge" in West Glacier for some fishing with his buddies. With his dad, he'd hike up the drainages. As a teenager, they'd descend the Middle Fork on rubber rafts.
Photo: Thousands of travelers go whitewater rafting on the Flathead River every summer.
"It's wild, and it's been a wild river for a long time," he says. "It really does look very much like it was in my growing-up years."
See the beauty of this river and the impact it has on the local community in the short film above from Pursuit, Flathead Magic.