It is safe to say that the state’s fish, wildlife and parks and our abundant recreational opportunities played a role in many people’s cherished memories this past year.
Our state has the highest number of hunters per capita of any state in the union—about one in four Montanans. Over 190,000 Montanans purchased a fishing license in 2004, and about 70 percent of the 1.65 million visitors to our State Parks are Montanans.
These same Montanans and many others have also played an important role in the success of FWP’s work—and the stewardship that our natural resources require --whether you helped in the process of creating the new Tower Rock State Park, commented on proposed fishing or hunting regulations, took time to comment on your Block Management Area hunting experience, or thanked the volunteer host at a state park.
Thousands of hunters, anglers, wildlife viewers, conservation organizations, agricultural producers and others also attended public meetings this year or sent written comments to FWP on the management of species as diverse as sage grouse, elk, prairie dogs and wolves. We are thankful to these and other Montanans from all walks of life who share their years of valuable outdoor experience and an unsurpassed passion for the state’s wildlife, fish, rivers and landscapes.
Citizen advisory councils now meet in Kalispell, Missoula and Glasgow to discuss issues and offer counsel to FWP regional management teams—and more of these groups are being formed. Other citizen groups have worked on recommendations for the continuation of block management hunting access, management of motorized and nonmotorized trail funds, hunting regulations and other important issues.
Others on our list include private landowners who provide hunting and fishing access, maintain critical wildlife habitat, fight the spread of noxious weeds, and who help to protect our wild fisheries by working with FWP to restore stream banks, improve irrigation methods, and keep water in streams during times of extreme drought.
There are still others to thank—those who called Tip-Mont to report vandalism in a State Park or a wildlife crime; or who cleaned the bottom of their boat last summer to avoid spreading aquatic nuisance species; packed litter out of the woods; washed their truck to prevent the spread of noxious weeds; avoided disturbing wintering elk; or decided to leave a spring fawn where they found it so it can grow wild and free.
Stewardship of the state’s wildlife and wild places matters greatly, and everyone has a vital role. This holiday season FWP wants to let you know how much we value your contributions and appreciate the privilege of working side by side with you.