The draft report of the Montana State Parks Futures II Committee, appointed by Governor Judy Martz, is available for public review and comment through September 20. The public will also have an opportunity to comment during a simulcast public meeting linking eight sites around the state via satellite on September 11 from 7-9 p.m.
The State Parks Futures II Committee reviewed the Montana State Parks system and its operations, management and direction and sought public input over the course of the past year.
Among the Committee's recommendations in the draft report are:
· Improve public information and education at state parks;
· Improve marketing to increase the number of people who benefit from parks, strengthening partnerships, and making parks even more a part of local communities and civic organizations;
· Improve opportunities for parks visitors to meet and learn from Native Americans knowledgeable about their culture, the parks, and surrounding areas;
· Sustain or improve State Parks maintenance;
· Establish a State Park in northeastern Montana; and
· Promote the role of State Parks in growing the state’s economy.
The Committee identified several potential funding options, including: increasing user fees; increasing the RV fee; imposing a vehicle license plate fee to replace park entrance fees; and charging a registration fee on non-motorized boats with the revenue dedicated in part to State Parks.
The Committee's final report and recommendations will be used by the Governor, the 2003 Legislature, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in making future decisions about the parks.
Locations for the public meeting are:
MSU – Billings
1500 N 30th St.
Special Ed Bldg., Rm. 159
MSU – Bozeman
EPS Bldg., S. 7th & Grant
Bums Center Rm. 126
WMC – Dillon
710 S Atlantic
Library, Montana Rm., 2nd Floor
Great Falls College of Technology
20100 16th Ave. S, Rm. B-103
Great Falls, MT
Helena College of Technology
1115 N. Roberts St., Rm. 106
Flathead Valley Community College
777 Grandview Dr.
Learning Resource Center., Rm. 120
Miles Community College
2715 Dickerson St., Rm. 106
Miles City, MT
U of M – Missoula
Corner of Arthur and Eddy
Gallagher Bldg, Rm. 104
Copies of the draft report are available by contacting the Parks Division of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks at 406-444-3750; on the FWP web site at www.fwp.state.mt.us on the Parks page, or at local libraries around the state. For more information on the statewide simulcast public meeting call 406-444-3750.