Havre Daily News
The Fresno Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited has been committed to labors of love at various reservoirs, lakes and ponds throughout north-central Montana for years. This year it is in the process of completing its most ambitious project yet - a three-tiered camping, parking and recreational area at the main beach of its namesake, Fresno Reservoir, about a 14-mile drive from Havre - 11 miles west on U.S. Highway 2 and three miles north on State Road 232.
"We built, along with the Railroad Pagers (Association), a pavilion and campground," Fresno Chapter president Larry Martinson said Wednesday. "The pavilion is open to the public. It will be free of charge, as is our campground. We will be taking reservations if people want to have private functions.
"We will have a donation box out there, and if they enjoyed their stay, they can donate something to us if they want."
Railroad Pagers annually donates thousands of dollars and volunteers its services to area projects benefiting youths.
"The Pagers threw in $5,000 and we have about $25,000 in it and climbing," Martinson said. "And they donated manpower and design for the pavilion, and Walleyes donated money we raised from our banquet. We had lots of (volunteer labor) help from our board of directors."
The road from U.S. Highway 2 to Fresno Dam is paved, but the access roads to the lake are gravel. The turnoff to the main beach area is marked by a roadside "main beach" sign and easily reached on the one-way gravel road.
"We designated some roads in and out of there as one way simply because if you have a camper or a boat on the back of your vehicle, you can't back out," Martinson said. "We can get in and out of the campground area with ease."
The top tier of the project is the Hubert Goggins Family Campground, which was erected on land donated by Goggins, a long-time railroad employee. The middle tier contains the parking area and also a camping area. The bottom tier features the pavilion on the main beach.
Martinson said numerous businesses and individuals have donated materials or given the chapter discounts, and also given freely of their time. "Without them, we couldn't made this possible," he said.
Though the work is far from done, the area is ready for guests.
"It's basically ready to go, if you want to," Martinson said. "We have a caretaker out there and private boat docks out there that we rent out to individuals. The caretaker will be looking out for the boat docks and the pavilion."
Though there is no plumbing at the main beach, there are restrooms courtesy of the Bureau of Reclamation. And there is no electricity.
"There is a big open-pit metal fire pit in the pavilion," Martinson said, "and picnic tables and other seating. We will be putting more fire pits and seating at the campground as we go."
Martinson said work began last June and that plenty of work still needs to be done at the site.
"We are getting and would like more help from other service clubs in the area," Martinson said. "Any club or individual that wants to get involved is welcome to help us."