Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the U.S. Forest Service are agency partners in the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, a national program that promotes responsible outdoor recreation on our public lands. In traveling the Smith River, you play a part in its preservation and management. Please help limit the need for new rules and regulations by using common sense to reduce or eliminate your group's impact. Regulations on the Smith have been thoughtfully crafted to reflect the public's desire to maintain a high quality experience.
Simple living, adventure, and solitude can still be part of backcountry travels. To assure the continued existence we must take the responsibility to educate ourselves and to become equipped with skills and habits that enable us to have minimum impact.
You can help reduce problems in the backcountry or become part of them. Low-impact camping practices must be realistic and tempered by judgment and experience. Ask yourself why you came and what you received from the Smith River. What will you choose? What will you do?
The following principles form the foundation of the Leave No Trace program. Conscientious attention can greatly aid your ability to minimize the impact of your Smith River and other backcountry visits.
Avoid unnecessary impact in river corridors by carefully preparing for your trip. Give early and careful consideration to the abilities of everyone in your party, your food and equipment needs, and safety considerations related to weather and water conditions.
Respect for others on the river should be extended to wildlife. River runners have the potential to greatly impact wildlife through direct contact and habitat destruction. When approaching raptors, herons, breeding waterfowl, and mammals on the river, always remain quiet, stay in boats, move to the other side of the river, and keep moving. Never feed animals or leave food scraps where they might be eaten. Camp away from all nests and burrows.
The Smith River flows through black bear habitat and habituated or food—conditioned bears on the river corridor have been a problem in recent years. We recommend you bring bear pepper spray with you on your trip for deterring nuisance or aggressive bears. You may also want to consider securing your food supplies in a "bear resistant" food container.
Respect other visitors and help protect the quality of their experience. Keep noise to a minimum and let nature's sounds prevail. Please stay in your declared campsites, as this will help visitors find camping space at their declared sites. Avoid monopolizing popular fishing holes. Be considerate of other float parties needing space at launch areas and only occupy launch areas long enough to prepare and launch.