Friday, November 20, 1998The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission has adopted two FWP planning documents that will guide the policies and actions of the state agency over at least the next decade.
In adopting the planned course of action outlined in FWP's environmental impact statement on its Wildlife Program, as well as the actions recommended in "2020 Vision for Montana State Parks," the Commission gave its approval to FWP to begin operating in ways the documents recommend.
In brief, FWP's Wildlife Program will be conducted with more attention payed to ecosystems as a whole and all species of wildlife, including endangered species. FWP proposes to seek a decrease in the burden on hunters and anglers to fund all wildlife-related programs and to seek new funding sources. The EIS provides direction for the wildlife program to develop partnerships and increased local involvement when implementing programs that provide hunter access.
"2020 Vision" sets forth the need to secure a broader and more stable range of funding sources if substantive improvements are to be made to the park system. If there is public, political and financial support, the plan identifies a wide range of new initiatives and types of park sites that could be pursued. Some of these include: creation of a recreational rivers program; development of interpretive opportunities along selected historical trails (e.g., the Bozeman Trail); more active involvement in the creation of railtrails and/or greenways; and investigating the opportunity for adding one or more new parks in eastern Montana, possibly dealing with the region's 19th Century agricultural heritage.
A third FWP planning document considered by the Commission--"Fisheries Beyond 2000"--was not adopted but will be considered at a later date when some slight changes have been made in its content.