Comments Needed on Madison River Boating Limits (MT)
A Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks work group is proposing to recommend new fees, permits, and limits on Bear Trap Canyon and Quake Lake sections of the Madison River. Comments are due on October 14th, so write them a quick note! The work group recommendations have come out of left field for whitewater paddlers, since they were focused on the high-use sections of the Madison River frequented by anglers. Their solutions are not justified or warranted, and will not solve actual problems. To us, they read like non-solutions to non-problems written with little or no input from whitewater paddlers.
American Whitewater will be submitting comments that stress the following points.
1. The proposed strictly-limited, reservation only, fee-based launch windows for Bear Trap Canyon are not justified, will not solve any real problems, will impact paddlers, and were not vetted with the public. Many paddlers do not even use the boat ramp where the launch windows aim to ease crowding.
2. Free, self-issued, on-site, unlimited permits --like those found at many backcountry trailheads-- would be acceptable on Bear Trap. The online or in-store limited reservation permit system proposed by the work group would not be.
3. No permits should be required for the Quake Lake whitewater run. This run is low use.
4. The paddling community should be consulted on limits of our use, and we were not.
Deadline: Public comments will be taken until Oct. 14, 2022