Thursday, July 02, 1998The comment period on three documents designed to help Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks prepare for the future has been extended to July 31. The documents -- Fisheries Beyond 2000, the Wildlife Programmatic Impact Statement, and 2020 Vision for Montana State Parks -- provide proposed future management direction for the state agency.
"Approximately every five years, we take a hard look at the long-term direction of the agency," said FWP Director Pat Graham. "We want to know how people who use and enjoy Montana's fish, wildlife and parks resources think we are doing and if they agree with our impressions of where we should be spending our time and resources."
Graham said he is especially interested in public comment because of the changing times in Montana. "We are facing changes that have the potential to dramatically influence FWP's management. When you consider that Montana's population has increased by 10 percent in the last eight years, that over three million acres of agricultural land has been converted to other uses in the last 20 years, that 10 times as many people now visit Montana annually as live here, and that outdoor recreation related activities now generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually in expenditures in Montana, it's crucial that we include the public in decisions affecting the use and management of resources that are so important to them."
Graham said that several groups had requested an extension to the 90-day original comment period. "Because of the extreme interest and importance of our resources to Montanans and our guests, we agreed that a 30-day extension was reasonable. We want to hear from these people. If the extension allows them to provide us more meaningful input, we are happy to accommodate them," Graham said.
The documents are available for public review at all FWP offices. Executive summaries of each document, in addition to on-line response forms, also are available on FWP's website at http:\\fwp.state.mt.us. Interested persons can call (406) 444-4041 for more information.