Whitefish Lake vendors draw attention from city


KALISPELL, Mont. - Whitefish City Council members discussed vendors operating on Whitefish Lake at a recent meeting. The city is concerned that if enough vendors start operating on the lake, it could result in congestion near the city beach and boat launch.

Currently there are only a few businesses that actually operate on the water, one of which is the Tamarack Lake Shop.

"We offer an awful lot of services on the boat. If anyone forgets pretty much anything that's related to their boat, safety equipment, anything like that," said Ed Docter of the Tamarack Lake Shop.

He also rents paddleboards and sells snacks and ice off the rig. While the business is operating legally -- all that is needed is a business license -- the city says it needs to be proactive.

"I think it's not only a safety issue, it is a question of accommodating as many users as we possibly can and, at the same time, try to make sure everyone's needs are met," said Whtiefish Deputy Mayor Richard Hildner.

The city says it is worried that if more of these businesses pop up they will cause more traffic at the boat launches and near the city beach.

"One thing that we don't want to have happen is commercial businesses cruising back and forth in front of city beach," said Hildner.

Docter tells us that he drops his rig off early in the morning and takes it out of the water later at night to avoid causing congestion.

For now, floating businesses are free to operate with the proper licenses, but the city council will be discussing the topic more throughout the summer.