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Commission Adopts Smith River Floating Use Changes


Fri Feb 13 00:00:00 MST 1998

At its meeting on February 5 in Helena, the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission revised the administrative rules regarding floating on the Smith River southwest of Great Falls.

Changes to the annual rule were considered because use of the river by floaters has reached levels where a review of management was required by the current management plan. Proposed revisions were tentatively adopted by the Commission in December.

Included in the revised rules adopted by the Commission for the 1998 floating season are:

  1. There will be a four-night camping stay limit for both private and outfitted groups during the peak use period of June 10 through July 10.
  2. Five canceled launches during any given week will not be reassigned to floaters during the peak period.
  3. Outfitter cancellations, which occur during the peak period, will be available for reallocation to private floaters, provided a total of five (5) voluntary cancellations have occurred during that week.
  4. Landowners on the Smith River currently have the option of floating without restrictions or fees as long as it is with immediate family members and they don't float overnight. They are still required to register. A landowner representative on the Smith River Ad Hoc Committee proposed, and Commissioners approved, the following rule revision:

* Smith River landowners will be allowed to float with non-immediate family members with the following restrictions:

  1. day floats only;
  2. no commercial use;
  3. landowners will still be required to register and display boat tags;
  4. such floats will be limited to one per day among all landowners (over the length of the entire river); allocated on a first-come, first-served basis;
  5. limited to six people per trip;
  6. trips may only be of one-day duration (i.e., consecutive day floats will not be allowed;
  7. non-family members will pay a $7.50 floater fee.

Those interested in floating the Smith in 1998 can pick up applications at any FWP office. Floating applications will be due at the Great Falls FWP office no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, February 17.