Tuesday, December 21, 1999The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission is seeking comment on an amended interim rule that addresses new commercial use on the Beaverhead and Big Hole Rivers.
The commission's amendment would allow outfitters licensed between Dec. 1, 1998 and July 1, 1999 to operate on the river if their operating plans included the Beaverhead or Big Hole rivers, even though they had no prior use on the rivers.
Based on information from the Montana Board of Outfitters, the amendment would include one additional outfitter.
The interim rules, which were adopted by the FWP Commission in July:
- restrict new commercial outfitter use on the two rivers until the FWP Commission adopts a recreational management plan.
- direct FWP to facilitate a public process to address the rivers' conflict issues.
- require the commission to consider recommendations that emerge from the public process, before developing a recreation management plan.
- prohibit outfitters from launching boats on Saturdays on the upper Beaverhead River between Clark Canyon Dam to Henneberry Fishing Access Site and on the Big Hole River between Jerry Creek and the Salmonfly Fishing Access Site beginning Jan. 1, 2000.
- Request that the proposed recreation resource management plan not base commercial floating opportunity on historical use and not create vested property rights for commercial operators.
The rules are in effect from July 1, 1999 through May 1, 2001. Comment on the amendment will be accepted through Jan. 10, 2000. Comments can be sent to FWP Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.