Our point of view

Jeff HagenerThe Session

Several bills passed by the 2007 Montana Legislature and signed by Governor Brian Schweitzer will affect FWP’s management of Montana’s fish, wildlife, and parks. Most significant was the authorization of $10 million from the state general fund for one-time purchases of fishing access sites and state parks, part of the governor’s Square Deal for Montanans. Another successful component of the square deal package was a free conservation license for kids age 12 to 14 and adults over age 62, an initiative designed to get more people out fishing. Other legislation that passed:

Bills that didn’t pass include ones that would have required statewide streamside setbacks for new housing and other development along rivers; improved the enforcement of laws prohibiting boating under the influence of alcohol; and given FWP game wardens the authority to cite minors possessing alcohol and drugs at fishing access sites and other FWP lands. (Currently, a warden needs to call the local county sheriff, who then must drive out to the site to issue citations.) Other unsuccessful bills attempted to address the long-term funding and management of the Fort Peck fish hatchery. None of these issues will go away, and FWP is committed to seeing them resolved.

For now, all of us at FWP hope you enjoy the summer and have a great time taking advantage of Montana’s many tremendous outdoor recreational opportunities.Bear bullet


M. Jeff Hagener is Director of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks