The impression that Montana's rivers are becoming overcrowded is shared by many people living throughout our state. All recreational interests, including canoeists, rafters, kayakers, motorized boaters, anglers and commercial outfitters, are feeling the strain and are, subsequently, becoming less satisfied with their experiences on Montana's waterways.
As a result, in the spring of 1994 the Fisheries Division of Fish, Wildlife& Parks formed a committee comprising representatives of the various user interests and other natural resource and recreation management agencies to discuss river recreation conflicts, with the hope of resolving some of them.
At the first meeting of this River Recreation Conflicts Group, two subcommittees were formed. One is addressing etiquette and ethical practices that river recreationists might exercise to minimize conflicts, while the other is investigating possible legislative measures that might alleviate some of the river use problems now being witnessed.
In this brochure, produced by the etiquette subcommittee, we hope to suggest ways in which river recreationists can be considerate and mannerly to other users. We firmly believe that in many cases when an irresponsible act is exhibited in a river corridor, the person or persons at fault generally are unaware of the dissatisfaction they are causing others. Therefore we hope to educate all types of recreational rivers users throughout Montana about the place of ethics and etiquette in river recreation.
Following are a number of suggestions that we hope will lessen the presence of conflicts among river recreationists. These suggestions should be viewed as guidelines rather than rules or regulations.