Kalispell is in the heart of the magnificent Rocky Mountains, poised in the northwest corner of Montana and about an hour south of the Canadian border. As Montana’s seventh largest city and the seat of Flathead County, it’s a progressive, thriving community; the very essence of Big Sky Country – with the best backyard in the country.
A half-hour to the east lies the rugged grandeur of Glacier National Park. Fifteen minutes to the south is Flathead Lake – a glacial jewel – the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, and one of the purest anywhere.
Encompassing the valley is the Flathead National Forest – 2.3 million acres of federally protected public land, home to abundant wildlife, including grizzly and black bears, moose, deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and wolves.
At more than 5,000 square miles Flathead County’s 90,000 residents have plenty of elbow room. About as many people live within the three incorporated towns as outside of them. With a population of 22,000 Kalispell is the largest. It is within a 15-minute drive of the other two, Whitefish and Columbia Falls; and less than 30 minutes from Bigfork and Lakeside, two smaller but vibrant communities nestled on the east and west shores of Flathead Lake.
Northwest Montana’s economy is diverse, small-business oriented and growing. And Flathead County has the leading edge as the state’s second-fastest growing county. It was named the most diverse, balanced economy in the Rocky Mountain West in the Colorado College State of the Rockies Report.
Investment in infrastructure will be a key component to the Flathead’s success. Kalispell is at the junction of U.S. 93 (north-south) and U.S. 2 (east-west). The Reserve Connector, the first four-lane leg of the U.S. 93 bypass around Kalispell was completed in 2007, linking the new Glacier High School campus with U.S. 93.
The estimated cost of the entire eight-mile project is $76 million. The southern half, a $35 million project, began construction in 2009. Progress and planning on the transportation front coupled with an advanced telecommunications system make the Flathead a place where companies can base their businesses while taking advantage of all the recreational opportunities the area has to offer.
Critical to northern Montana’s economy, train traffic has increased over the last seven years, and Amtrak’s ridership has increased by nearly 40 percent over the last five. BNSF Railway Co. operates a busy rail yard in Whitefish and has invested $54.4 million in capital improvements for Montana along its northern route – the mighty Chicago-to-Seattle Empire Builder makes twice-daily stops in Whitefish on its trans-American route.
Delta, Horizon Airlines, Allegiant Air and United Airlines all provide access to major markets from Glacier Park International Airport – which also features outstanding facilities for corporate aircraft.
Kalispell’s infinite vistas with 360 degree views of Glacier National Park, and the Whitefish, Swan and Mission ranges of the Rockies, its thriving economy, and exhilarating, growing community of friendly residents who take great pride in their home, are a few of the many reasons why the quality of life here is exceptional – and why the Flathead’s unparalleled beauty is treasured by all who live here.