Flathead Valley community leader Robin Street, whose efforts created one of the most popular family fishing ponds in the region, died Thursday at age 85.
It was Street’s vision and passion that created Pine Grove Pond north of Kalispell. The pond and adjoining picnic grounds opened in 2011.
“Pine Grove is an incredible legacy, probably the best family fishing pond in Montana, if not most western states. It’s a real treasure for the valley,” said Jim Vashro, who was regional fisheries manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks prior to his retirement in 2013. “Pine Grove is one of the top fishing waters in the whole region. That speaks to both Robin’s vision and all the hard work he put in to make that vision come true.”
The pond is named for a school that Street’s grandfather founded. Street’s father served on the school board and then he also served on the board before Pine Grove School closed in 1973.
In a 2011 interview with the Daily Inter Lake, Street said, “when we needed a name for the pond, I wanted people to remember Pine Grove.”
Street’s grandfather homesteaded land in that area, off Rose Crossing, in 1883.
Vashro said Street showed him remnants of picnic tables on the property where the family hosted community get-togethers over 100 years ago. “That continues with Pine Grove Pond,” Vashro added.
Street told the Inter Lake in 2011 he wasn’t alone in making the fishing pond a reality.
“A lot of people, a lot of organizations helped to make this happen,” Street said.
The Pine Grove Pond facility attracts about 70,000 visitors a year, which includes more than 1,000 Hooked on Fishing students and participants in other educational activities at the site.
Vashro said Street had remained active and involved in pond activities; just a couple of weeks ago he was making plans for another picnic shelter at the site.
Street garnered a number of awards for his efforts, including the Montana Wildlife Federation’s Landowner of the Year award, presented to Street and his son, Steve. He also received the Landowner of the Year Award from the Montana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society and was recognized by the governor with the Good Neighbor Award.
Street was involved in a number of local organizations through the years, including Evergreen Fire Rescue and the Flathead Soil and Water Conservation District.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 2, at Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home in Kalispell.
News Editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.