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Stevensville access

A group of adventurous floaters get a jump-start on this year's boating season earlier this spring after launching at the reopened access point just downstream from the bridge leading to Stevensville. The new owner of the Fort Owen Ranch signed a one-year agreement with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks recently to officially open the site for public use. The state is now asking for the public to weigh in on a proposal that would build a permanent fishing access site there. 

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is seeking public input on its proposal to accept a donation of about seven acres of land and review of development plans that would provide for access and improvements at a new Stevensville Bridge Fishing Access Site (FAS).

The site has long been a popular Bitterroot River access for floaters, anglers and others. With the donation of land from a private landowner, FWP would manage the site part of its existing FAS program.

The proposal also calls for FWP to develop the site to improve recreation facilities and access and to restore and protect the streambank. Streambank protection would be possible through cooperation with the City of Stevensville, who would allow for some of the proposed parking to occur on their land.

Proposed developments include improved parking areas, a concrete latrine, fencing, gravel road access, a primitive camping area, trail connections, and new signs. The existing area where boaters have traditionally put boats in the river would continue to serve as the designated boat launch at the site.

The proposed acquisition and development plans are outlined in an Environmental Assessment (EA).

To review the draft EA and to comment, go to FWP’s website, fwp.mt.gov, under “News,” then “Recent Public Notices.” Or, request information and provide comment by contacting FWP Region 2; Attn: Sharon Rose; 3201 Spurgin Rd.; Missoula 59804; by phoning 406-542-5540; or by emailing shrose@mt.gov. Comments must be submitted by 5p.m. on Friday, July 6, 2018.

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