River’s Edge Pond will have fish, soon

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The new fish pond at Riverís Edge Park.

A ceremony to dedicate and celebrate the new fish pond at Riverís Edge Park in Columbia Falls is from 4 to 7 p.m. June 18.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is expected to stock the pond with native westslope cutthroat trout prior to the event.

Kids fishing gear will be provided on a limited basis during the event, which coincides with National Go Fishing Day. Food will be served during the celebration and youth raffle prizes will be awarded.

The pond was a joint effort between FWP, the Flathead Land Trust, the city and donors.

Schellinger Construction of Columbia Falls donated the excavator work to dig the 1.5 acre pond last November.

The banks have been seeded down and the pondís sediment has settled. Itís now an aqua green color and surprisingly deep ó about 20 feet at its deepest point.

The pond has a constant supply of cool water ó groundwater flows through it ó making it a good place to stock native trout.

The city of Columbia Falls and the Flathead Land Trust received a $100,000 grant in 2017 from the LOR Foundation to work collaboratively on the pond and a trail project in the city.

In addition, FWP committed funded part of the project through the Bill Kamps Memorial Fund. William ďBillĒ Kamps enjoyed sharing his knowledge and love of the outdoors with the community, especially kids. Kamps passed away in 2011 and through his estate he created a fund to benefit FWPís Region 1 Hooked on Fishing program.

The City of Columbia Falls has also received a Community Pond Grant through FWP to support additional amenities at the site.

A host of local businesses stepped forward to help with the pond, including Hamilton Excavating, Sands Surveying, Applied Water Consulting and JD Thinning.

The city is currently working on a long-range plan for the entire park, which should be completed this fall. In addition to the pond, the parkís 27 acres also a great place to go bird watching, walk pets or gain foot access to the Flathead River. Itís also home to the cityís community garden.

Part of the cityís long range plan for the park includes wheelchair accessibility to the fish pond and bathrooms with running water.

The city will hold a Riverís Edge Park Development Plan Public Informational Work Session on June 20, from 4-7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The meeting will be an open-house format for residents to learn about the park and pond alternatives.

City officials will provide a formal presentation of the results from a recent survey and a project update at 6 p.m.

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