Parking has changed at Williams Bridge and Sappington Bridge Fishing Access Sites on the Jefferson River and along the nearby roadways.
An interagency effort is underway to improve conditions for floaters and motorists along this five-mile stretch of the Jefferson from Sappington Bridge to Williams Bridge. The stretch of river has become very popular in recent years for summertime floating and bridge- and cliff-jumping.
Unfortunately, along with that popularity has come large crowds, littering, trespassing, excessive drinking, and unsafe conditions for drivers along the state and county roads.
In response, Gallatin and Jefferson Counties, Montana Highway Patrol, Montana Department of Transportation, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks have developed new policies for parking at both bridge sites as well as along the two nearby roadways.
“We want people to get out and enjoy the river and our fishing access sites, but we also want them to do it safely and responsibly,” said FWP Warden Captain Sam Sheppard.
No parking signs were installed this spring along Highway 287 adjacent to Sappington Bridge and the county road adjacent to Williams Bridge. Parking will be limited to the two fishing access sites. Vehicles in violation of the new rules will be towed at the owner’s expense.
In addition, a private landowner with river frontage along the five-mile stretch removed the cliffs that were popular for cliff jumping. Cliff jumpers were trespassing on private property to access the cliffs. It is no longer safe to jump from this area with the cliffs removed. Trespassers will be cited.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is also working to improve and expand parking at Sappington Bridge and Williams Bridge Fishing Access Sites.
“Recreationists should be advised that FWP, Montana Highway Patrol, and the Gallatin and Jefferson County Sheriffs’ Offices will conduct saturation patrols throughout the summer to enforce the new rules,” added Sheppard.