Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking nominations for individuals to serve on a statewide river recreation advisory council as the agency continues its effort to address managing recreation on Montana’s increasingly popular rivers.
"Managing rivers for multiple use is challenging to say the least," said Charlie Sperry, FWP recreation management specialist. "In some situations the amount of recreation taking place is detracting from the quality of the experience."
Sperry said the advisory council will help FWP develop statewide river recreation management recommendations with general policies and rules for governing river-specific recreation plans aimed at creating better fishing and floating experiences.
"We know recreational use on some rivers in Montana is increasing and that competition between user groups, and social conflicts, are growing more evident," Sperry said. "More use can also impact the river and its surrounding natural resources, public facilities, and private property, which are among the issues the advisory council will be asked to tackle."
The Montana Legislature authorized the FWP Commission to adopt rules governing recreational uses of all public fishing reservoirs, public lakes, rivers, and streams that are legally accessible to the public. While the commission recently adopted specific rules for the Beaverhead and Big Hole rivers in southwestern Montana to address crowding, Sperry said Montana still needs a comprehensive management plan to guide river recreation on a watershed scale.
The council will consist of representatives from groups interested in river recreation management, or those who will be affected by river recreation-management decisions. Members will be asked to develop recommendations that strike a reasonable balance between providing quality recreational experiences and providing unlimited opportunities.
The council’s first meeting is expected to be held in August, with about six public meetings to follow. Recommendations are expected to be delivered to the FWP Commission this winter.
The deadline for nominations for individuals to serve on the advisory council has been extended to July 10. Send nominations to: River Recreation Advisory Council; Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks; P.O. Box 200701; Helena, MT 59620-0701. On-line information and nomination forms can be found on the FWP website, www.fwp.state.mt.us. Click on the River Recreation Advisory Council link in the "Hot Topics" box. Or call Charlie Sperry at (406) 444-3888.