The annual Smith River permit drawing has taken place and the results are in the mail and on the FWP web site at fwp.state.mt.us.
"We received 4,258 permit applications this year, and gave out 758 permits," says Joe O'Neill, FWP's Smith River manager. "We had 616 permits go to residents and 142 go to nonresidents as a result of the drawing."
The 59-mile scenic float south of Great Falls continues to be very popular. Last year, 4,294 people sent in applications. In 1993, the first year of the permit process, FWP received 216 applications.
This year's permits were mailed out March 9, O'Neill says. Refund checks to unsuccessful applicants went in the mail the week of March 16, including an explanation of how to go about picking up a cancellation or open date.
If neither a permit nor a refund arrives by March 31, it is the responsibility of each applicant to contact the Smith River hotline, in operation starting March 19 from 8 a.m. to noon, at FWP's Great Falls office, (406) 454-5861. The hotline is also a place to call to ask about any cancellations or open dates.