FW&P Shows off Improvements at Placid and Salmon Lake State Parks
New, attractive signs greet visitors at both Salmon Lake and Placid Lake State Parks near Seeley Lake.
Visitors tour a network of permanent docks that provide 14 boat slips at Placid Lake.
HD 58 Representative Doug Mood, left, from Seeley Lake, was among several public officials and media representatives invited to tour the improvements at both state parks.
Lee Bastion leads the visitors ona tour of the recently-completed, ultra-clean comfort station, featuring coin-operated hot showers with disability access at Placid Lake State Park.
This sign designates a lake-side camping site reserved especially for disabled visitors to the Placid Lake State Park.
If the site has not been taken by 8 p.m., then any visitor may use the site overnight.
Disabled access has been stressed in the improvements at both Salmon Lake and Placid Lake State Parks.
by Gary Noland
For the Pathfinder
September 3, 1998
It was time to show off, in an official sort of way, and that's what Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials did on Monday of last week when they escorted a dozen-plus invited guestspublic officals and mediato a tour of the "Crown Jewel" state parks in Region 2 at Placid and Salmon Lakes.
Lee Bastion, Region 2 parks manager, led the walk-through with a great deal of pride in the region's most popular state parks, now basking in summer sunlight and reflecting the results of $650,000 in improvement funding since 1991.
Backing him up was Woody Baxter, Seeley Lake, the Blackfoot-Clearwater Recreation Manager in charge of the parks on a daily basis. Baxter was named River Manager of the Year earlier this year by a national organization (see July 2, 1998 Pathfinder).
Given the size limits of both lakes, Baxter was quick to point out that improvements have been made to enhance the camping experience and not to accomodate more campers.
"The lakes will hold only so many speedboats. We did not expand the facilities; we just improved them," he said.
However, both lakes are extremely popular, with a record 24,000 visitors finding their way through the entrance gates last year. Campground sites at both parks are usually full each weekend during the summer, Baxter said.
Visitor usage varies at the two parks. Salmon Lake State Park, quite visible to Highway 83 traffic, attracts many non-resident visitors staying only a night or two. Placid Lake State Park, three miles west of Highway 83, receives more resident (state) users who stay for three or four days. At Placid Lake resident users account for 93% of visitors.
Bastion said the improvements program has been ongoing since 1991 with the most recent indicating FW&P's pledge to funnel those fees back into improving the parks.
Improvements over the years have been designed to comply with the American Disabilities Act and make facilities accessible for disabled persons, to upgrade deteriorating facilities, and to accomodate public input.
"We've met quite a few of those goals," Bastion said.
Campers like things rustic, Baxter laughed, but also appreciate things like a "hot shower" and boat slips rather than having to pull their boats out each night.
Hot showers are now a reality at the Placid Lake comfort station. To control usage, it costs you 25 cents for 4.5 minutes of hot water, Bastion said.
At this point the long-range improvement projects are coming to an end, with most of the major goals accomplished, Bastion said.