Montana State Parks seeking public comment on several proposals

Montana State Parks is seeking public comment on several proposals, including extension of the Smith River Biennial Fee Rule, East Gallatin Management Agreement, and Lands Transfer Policy Revisions. Public comments will be accepted through 5 p.m. Nov. 30.

Each proposal received tentative approval from the Montana Parks & Recreation Board at their October 2018 meeting, according to a release from Montana State Parks. Details for each item are provided below. To view full proposals, visit and click on “Public Comments.” Or contact the Parks Division of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks at 406-444-3750.

A public comment period for each proposal will be open for 30 days. Comments may be submitted online at and click on “Public Comments” or by email to Comments may also be submitted by mail to Montana State Parks Public Comment, Attn: Coleen Furthmyre, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701

Smith River Biennial Fee Rule Extension

Montana State Parks is seeking public input on a proposal to extend the current Smith River Biennial Fee Rule for the next biennium, until December 2020. The Smith River Biennial Rule sets fees, permit requirements and guidelines for private, commercial, and landowner float trips on the popular Smith River. The only changes to the current rule update the distribution of commercial launch dates to approved outfitters. The current fee rule was approved by the Montana State Parks & Recreation Board in February 2017 and is scheduled to expire in December 2018.

East Gallatin 50-Year Management Agreement

The Division is proposing new 50-year management agreement with the City of Bozeman for management of the East Gallatin State Recreation Area site. The site has been managed and developed by the City of Bozeman and the local Sunrise Rotary Club and is known locally as Glen Lake Rotary Park. Since 1991, a management agreement has been in place with the city with a 5-year automatic renewal clause. The 50-year no-cost management agreement is a continuation of past practice and provides long-term assurance for continued investment to be made at the site under the city’s management.

Lands Transfer Policy Revisions

The Montana Parks & Recreation Board has proposed revisions to the Lands Transfer Policy.

In 2015, the Parks & Recreation Board adopted its first Lands Policy to establish criteria and conditions needed for state park lands projects to be considered. The consideration of new park lands was tied to the Montana State Parks Strategic Plan criteria that state parks must have significance, relevance, and accessibility.  The policy was updated in 2017 to add language indicating that “it shall be the policy and intent of the Board not to close any existing state parks or recreational and historic areas.”

A Legislative Performance Audit concluded that the 2017 amendment language conflicted with the criteria in the original policy. The proposed changes address the audit recommendations by eliminating the conflicting language, while also providing general updates and revisions to the policy for clarity and consistency.