At its meeting in Hamilton on March 6, the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission adopted a rule that will require all commercial users of state fishing access sites and other FWP-administered lands to register with FWP before undertaking any activities on those lands. Commissioners tentatively approved the registration requirement at their January meeting and accepted public comments on the proposal through February.
The registration process will be initiated during 1998 to determine the extent of commercial use of FWP lands and to provide information that can be used in making future management decisions regarding those lands.
Commercial users that would be affected by this registration requirement include: fishing outfitters and guides, rafting companies, hunting outfitters, floater shuttle companies, bird watching/eco-tour organizations and more.
FWP officials suggest there could be as many as 500-600 commercial users of FWP lands statewide. In a change from the proposed rule on which Commissioners sought public comment, those commercial users of FWP sites who are currently registered with and paying license fees to the Montana Board of Outfitters within the Montana Department of Commerce will be exempt from paying a $10 registration fee. All other commercial users of sites will be required to submit the $10 registration fee.
FWP officials say the state agency's goal is not to turn the registration process into a revenue-generating venture, but simply to cover the direct costs associated with its registration and data collection efforts.