Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks FWP will host a series of community open houses in January to discuss the Smith River draft management plan and environmental assessment. The public is invited to show up any time between 5-8 p.m. at the following locations:
Jan 12 Helena Red Lion Colonial Hotel 2301 Colonial Dr.
Jan 13 Great Falls Great Falls Civic Center 2 Park Dr. S
Jan 14 White Sulphur Springs Senior Citizen Center 101 1st Ave. SE
Jan 21 Missoula Best Western Grant Creek Inn 5280 Grant Creek Rd.
Jan 22 Billings Billings Hotel & Convention Center 1223 Mullowney Ln
Last year, more than 5,800 people, the most ever, applied for about 900 Smith River float permits. The peak of the float season runs from mid-May to early July. On average, it’s a four-day, 59-mile float that begins at Camp Baker, near White Sulphur Springs, and ends at Eden Bridge, near Ulm.
FWP is seeking public comment on the draft recreation management plan and EA for Smith River State Park and river corridor through Jan. 30, 2009.
Comments may be submitted in writing at the open houses, via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or online at fwp.mt.gov—click "Smith River Plan." Mail written comments to: Smith River Plan; Montana FWP Headquarters; P.O. Box 200701; Helena., MT 59620-0701. Copies of the Smith River management plan and EA are also available from most FWP offices, or by calling 406-444-3750.
The draft management plan and EA address several key issues identified by an advisory committee, FWP staff, and Smith River floater-comment logs. The draft plan would establish a random selection process for boat camps; retain pit toilets and implement a voluntary human waste pack-out program; prohibit pets on float trips; and establish a minimum age requirement for permit applicants.