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Recreational Ethics

Discover the rewards of responsible recreation!

People spend a lot of time outdoors in Montana's state parks and fishing access sites. These areas are considered "front country" recreation sites, because they are reachable by car. Beyond the established rules and regulations that ensure the protection of people and places, most outdoor activities have their own set of ethics. These standards of behavior will help you:

  • Avoid conflicts with other recreationists,
  • Protect the special places you love for many generations to come, and
  • Ensure that you have a satisfying experience today.

Please familiarize yourself with these ethics before playing in the outdoors.

Trail through the woods


Montana has 2,294 public trails, totaling more than 14,633 miles. Hikers, bikers, horsemen, snowmobilers, OHV riders, cross-country skiers, dog mushers and others use these trails. Respect for the land and consideration for other users will ensure a quality experience for everyone on the trails. Learn more

Close-up of a man holding a fishing pole

River Recreation

Montana's waterways are used by many recreationists, including canoeists, rafters, kayakers, motorized boaters, anglers and commercial outfitters. In order to minimize conflicts, a set of etiquette and ethical practices has been established. Learn more

Person taking a photo

Wildlife photography

From ground squirrels to bald eagles, Montana is filled with a vast array of wildlife. To avoid disturbing wildlife and their habitat, special care should be taken while photographing them. Learn more

Eagle soaring high in the sky

Bird Watching

To avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger, exercise restraint and caution during observation and photography. Learn more

Tent set up in a remote area along a river

Leave No Trace Backcountry

Leave No Trace is an educational message that helps public land visitors understand and practice their own minimum impact ethic. The message is useful for all recreationists, regardless of whether they are on a day hike or a month-long mountaineering expedition. This is valuable information for visitors to Sluice Boxes and Smith River state parks. Learn more

Person riding a snowmobile


With over 4,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, Montana is a great place to play in the powder! Follow the laws and practice courtesy and safety, so that everyone can have the best experience possible. Learn more

Man lying in a field aiming a shotgun, bird hunting


Sportsmanship and ethics are as important in hunting as they are in any sport. If hunters keep a few simple thoughts in mind, they can hunt safely and set a good example for other hunters. Learn more