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The Forest Service is seeking public feedback and support for a grant application to replace the aging 30-year-old barge that services recreation sites across Priest Lake and Lake Pend Oreille.

You may have seen this old workhorse chugging across the waves hauling away trash and waste or carrying supplies and workers to a job site. After two rebuilds and many years of labor, the Forest Service would like to retire the machine and replace it to continue providing outstanding service at the many popular waterfront recreation sites across these iconic lakes.

The barge is heavily used and in operation four days per week from April through October, and two days a week the rest of the year. The barge provides daily campsite cleaning and restroom pumping at the many boat-in campsites on islands at Priest Lake and service at the remote waterfront sites that adorn both lakes.

Additionally, the barge has been instrumental in last year’s work to replace more than 110 picnic tables and fire rings at boat-in only sites on Priest Lake. The barge also will be critical to the success of planned upgrades to replace vault toilets over the coming years at numerous boat-in and waterfront sites across Priest Lake and Upper Priest Lake.

The Forest Service is proposing to pay more than half of the purchase cost and requesting a grant from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation Waterways Improvement Fund grant program to fund the remaining balance for a new barge.

If you support this grant application, please send a message to Recreation Manager Dan Gilfillan at with questions, comments or letters of support.

The U.S. Forest Service - Idaho Panhandle National Forests appreciates your support!

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