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Fish Creek State Park

Fish Creek Watershed Recreation Strategy

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is building on previous planning efforts to create an updated, comprehensive roadmap for managing recreational use on FWP managed lands in the Fish Creek Watershed. The Fish Creek area is home to important fish and wildlife habit, historic and cultural resources, local communities and private landowners, and unique opportunities for outdoor recreation. This is all part of what the planning process and final planning document considers.

 

Location

Located approximately 40 miles west of Missoula and 25 miles east of Superior, FWP's key Fish Creek sites include Fish Creek State Park, Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Big Pine Fishing Access Site (FAS), and Forks FAS. The Alberton Gorge, which offers opportunities for water access and recreation, is also located in the area. The area also includes other state and federal public lands.

 

Integrated planning

The Fish Creek planning effort is using an interdisciplinary, holistic approach to consider recreation interests and fish, wildlife, historic, and cultural resources at FWP-managed lands throughout the watershed, including the area’s fishing access sites, the Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area, and Fish Creek State Park. As part of promoting a coordinated, seamless recreation experience on a multi-jurisdictional landscape, FWP is working closely with the Montana Department of Natural Resources (DNRC) and the United States Forest Service (USFS) in this planning process.

 

Summary of Planning Process

Planning began in July and August of 2022 with outreach to stakeholders invested in the future of the Fish Creek Watershed.

The planning team hosted workshops, a field trip, and interviews with stakeholders representing diverse perspectives including hunters, anglers, hikers, floaters, mountain bikers, motorized recreation users, landowners, businesses, outfitters, county government, state and federal agencies, conservation groups, wildlife interests, and access advocates.

The planning team also solicited input through a public survey that resulted in over 675 responses.  All of this input is informing the development of proposed strategies for managing recreational use in the area. Here is a summary of the public survey (PDF).

Take a peek at the planning process timeline (PDF).

 

Draft recreation strategy

The Fish Creek Draft Recreation Strategy was out for public review and comment Sept. 18-Oct. 20, 2023.  Planning staff are now using the comments received to help refine the draft strategy before a final planning document is released at the end of the year.

 

Implementation

Our efforts to engage stakeholders and the public will not end with a recreation strategy. We look forward to fostering ongoing opportunities for engagement, input, plan refinement and partnership with the public when we begin implementing the final planning document in 2024.

 

For more information

Randy Arnold
FWP Region 2 supervisor
406-542-5504
rarnold@mt.gov