The Saga Continues On The Illegal Home Build On McDonald Creek in Glacier Park

In March, we started following the story of a home being built on McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park.  The owners of the home did not get any of the necessary paperwork done to begin the build, a 310 permit.  The Montana Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act, the 310 law permit is free.

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This is the home in October 2023:

Ambler Home build on McDonald Creek, Glacier National Park, October 2023
Hungry Horse News//Chris Peterson

Here are the stories we've done so you can get caught up:

In March 2023:

Then in April 2023:

In August 2023:

The Home Was Ordered Torn Down By November 1, 2023

In May 2023, Laurie Zeller was appointed to arbitrate the dispute between John and Stacy Ambler of San Diego, California and the Flathead Conservation District.

From Hungry Horse News:

On Monday, November 13, Zeller found that the Flathead Conservation District in fact DOES have jurisdiction over the house.

Soon after Zeller presented her findings, the Conservation District Board passed a motion to require the Amblers to apply for the necessary 310 permits, by January 1, 2024 to tear down the illegal build.  The couple has been given until April 1, 2024 to have the home demolished and remediate the streambed.

Zeller stated the California couple had a fairly strong case, but it came down to one glaring thing:

the case was about private individuals on private land and it was a private project, which was, indeed, subject to the state’s Montana Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act.

The Ambler Home from Apgar:

A picture of the Ambler home from Apgar in Glacier National Park
Hungry Horse News//Chris Peterson

From The Flathead Beacon:

Montana lawyer, Trent Baker of Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind, a Missoula-based law firm, is representing the couple.  He told the Conservation District that the Amblers would formally sue them in Flathead County District Court and go all the way to the Montana Supreme Court, if necessary. (Oh boy, nobody saw that coming.  The rich tend to bully with expensive lawyers.  I'm surprised any self-respecting lawyer in Montana would actually represent them and help them ruin this pristine creek bed.  To each their own, I suppose.)

the Amblers had already filed a civil complaint against the Flathead Conservation District, which he intended to amend and have served immediately.

“Our intent is to amend that complaint and serve it on the district and exercise [the Amblers’] right to judicial review with regard to that jurisdiction,” Baker said.

Because of this, there are doubts that the Amblers will apply for the 310 permit needed and actually tear down the home and remediate the streambed by the new date set, April 1, 2024.

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