I had the pleasure of being accepted, along with a few other creatives, to Open Air’s residency at the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station at Yellow Bay this past week. I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into, and it sounds ridiculous, but I had never been to FLBS even though I have spent plenty of summers on the lake. Somewhere along the line there was a disconnect. As a visual artist perhaps I can bring some more knowledge to the space to those of us who haven’t visited.
My spring cohort will be displaying our work in Missoula for August’s First Friday.
Here are a few facts about Flathead Lake I learned this week:
Flathead Lake is the 79th largest of the natural freshwater lakes in the world, and it is one of the cleanest.
FLBS is one of the oldest active biological stations in the US
Average surface temperatures of the Lake range from 2.3°C (36°F) in mid-January to 13.5°C (56°F) in mid-June to 20.3°C (68°F) in mid-August.
Public lands around the Lake include a National Wildlife Refuge on the North Shore, six State Parks (including Yellow Bay which is on FLBS property) managed by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP), and nine Fishing Accesses managed by FWP or the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
The first wagon trail (1880s) from Polson to Somers followed the West Shore of the Lake and was steep and hazardous. In places, wagons were lowered by ropes.
Wildhorse Island, one of the State Parks, is the largest island in the lake at 2,100 acres, and rises 1,200 feet above the Lake. It is noted for herds of wild horses and Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep. Native grasses and flowers are abundant.
(these facts are from FLBS’s amazing website)