article photo Pe8wK0woEKoKEQInX9h5a.jpg

Comments Needed on Madison River Boating Limits (MT)

Posted: 10/13/2022
By: Kevin Colburn

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. 


You can read the recommendations for the whole Madison River (including Bear Trap and Quake Lake) here, and the specific recommendations for Bear Trap hereThe work group website is here.


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

Kevin Colburn

Asheville, NC

Full Profile

Associated Rivers


Madison River Work Group Public Comments (10/13/2022)

American Whitewater's comments on the draft recommendations of the Madison River Work Group, which propose new limits on paddling the Madison River.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!