Greg Alsbury already has his lot reserved in the new Rosewater water-ski community that’s taking shape off Rose Crossing north of Kalispell.
As a competitive water-skier, Alsbury said Rosewater quite literally is a dream come true.
“It’s just a big need here in the valley as it gets more populated,” Alsbury said. “It’s been a lifetime dream to do this here in Kalispell.”
To get undisturbed water-ski time on Echo Lake, Alsbury said he gets up at 5:30 a.m. and is off the lake by 10 a.m. when boat activity picks up. Having a home in a subdivision that caters exclusively to water-skiers will let him, his wife, Lori, and son Scott — also competitive skiers — have access to lakes specially made for water-skiing.
Rosewater developer Bill Tanner said creating a water-ski community in the Flathead Valley follows a trend that’s ramping up nationwide. Such communities are common in arid states such as California and Florida, but northern states are attracting water-ski developments, too. Washington has more than 50 water-ski communities.
The idea isn’t new to Montana.
Similar subdivisions have been built throughout the state. Two water-ski communities are located in Helena; Bozeman has two, and there’s one in St. Ignatius, Tanner pointed out.
“The interest is good in Rosewater,” he said. “I have almost 20 lots reserved. About half are from Canadians. The Canadian market is big.
“There are lots of lakes here, but they’re all public,” he said. “Water-skiers want a course they can ski on.”
Alsbury has been providing technical expertise for Rosewater and is helping Tanner market the unique development. They recently set up a booth at the Pro Water Ski Shootout in Calgary to get the word out about Rosewater and the Flathead Valley.
The 154-acre development, located east of Whitefish Stage Road and just north of Rose Crossing, will feature 35 waterfront lots, 11 lake-access lots and 12 townhomes. Fully serviced lot prices range from $179,000 to $261,000.
LHC, general contractor for the project, began excavating for the lake beds in April, removing soil for two lakes — each 2,300 feet long, 250 feet wide and 8 feet deep — that will lie side by side with a walkway between them.
The lakes will cover about 26 acres of the development.
Northwest Liners will install a heavy polyvinyl chloride liner for each lake starting in September. About 18 inches of soil will be placed over the top of the liner.
Later this fall, utility lines and other infrastructure will be completed. Rosewater will connect to the Evergreen public water system and will have its own sewer system.
Next spring the lakes will be filled with about 30 million gallons of water taken from the nearby Whitefish River. Tanner has an irrigation right to draw river water.
The plan is to irrigate the development with lake water.
“We never have to drain the lakes,” Tanner added.
Construction of homes in Rosewater is targeted to begin next spring.
Neighbors surrounding Rosewater initially were concerned the plastic liner could potentially leak and affect groundwater, and there were questions about the level of boat noise the subdivision would generate.
The Flathead County commissioners approved Rosewater in June 2013, adding requirements such as six continuous monitoring wells throughout the property instead of an earlier requirement for two wells southeast of the lakes. A second amendment requires Rosewater to follow a state law forbidding water-ski boats and other towing watercraft from operating from sunset to sunrise.
The project also was required to get a conditional-use permit for construction of the lakes from the Board of Adjustment, which approved the permit last October.
Tanner assured the commissioners and Board of Adjustment throughout the approval process that noise won’t be a problem. The lakes are situated lower than the homes, allowing the houses to create a “berming effect,” Tanner said.
“These boats don’t make any noise,” he added. “There will be no Jet Skis or outboard motors.”
Tanner said he took one neighbor who was worried about the noise to one of the Helena water-ski communities.
“He came back positive,” Tanner said.
The Rosewater property, once farmland that produced winter wheat and canola, offers panoramic views of the Flathead Valley and surrounding mountain ranges and a centralized location for residents — both drawing cards for prospective homeowners, Tanner said.
“We’ll provide people with a real good quality of life,” he said, noting substantial amounts of open space in the development.
During the construction boom of the early 2000s, a 300-home subdivision was proposed on the same piece of property, but never materialized.
Rosewater homesites are all at least .75 acres.
“Once people see and recognize that this is not that many houses,” they’ve been supportive of the project, Tanner said.
Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Alsbury poses with his boat at the Rosewater development on Tuesday north of Kalispell. Alsbury is a project consultant for Rosewater.