Design Elements: Flathead Lake Lodge

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Flathead Lake Lodge, a family owned and operated guest ranch in Bigfork, Montana. Originally home to the Flathead Recreation Ranch for Boys that was built in 1932, the property was purchased by Les Averill in 1945, upon his return from World War II. As the management passed to each generation, the Averills turned this wild piece of land into a family vacation destination.

Doug Averill, Les’ son, took the lodge over in 1971, and in 2017, after 47 years, he turned the management over to his oldest son Chase. “I’ve spent my whole life on the ranch, from growing up here with my brothers to raising my own kids,” Doug says. “The lodge is unlike anywhere else, and it’s been my honor to spend my life hosting guests in this place.”

“Seventy-five years is a lifetime,” Chase adds. “For us, it’s three generations, a ton of stories, incredible experiences, and relationships that have been made here over the years.”

In honor of their 75th anniversary, Flathead Lake Lodge is hosting “A Week of Hope,” an event for families who have children with life-threatening medical conditions. The event was created to honor the ranch’s anniversary, the family legacy, and Western traditions.

“When it came time to celebrate this anniversary we knew we didn’t want it to be just about us,” says Chase. “The experiences and the feeling of home that the ranch provides are what make this place so special for us. The anniversary is about sharing this beautiful ranch with others.”

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