MT FWP reports Stevensville Bridge access is open again:
Public access to the Bitterroot River at Stevensville Bridge is in place once again for floaters and others. The popular access site is located primarily on private property and was closed by the previous landowner early last summer.
The site is now under new ownership, and the landowner signed a Private Lands Fishing Access agreement with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) last month that provides similar access to what was available in the past.
The new agreement says that boaters, anglers and other recreationists can drive or walk into the site and access the boat ramp and parking area. It calls for visitors to stay within marked boundaries and park in the designated areas. In return, FWP will provide the landowners with some site maintenance, monitoring and regulation enforcement.
Last year, after the site was closed, the City of Stevensville, Ravalli County and many public officials and community members came together to find an interim solution that provided some public access to the river in the same vicinity.
“There has been a lot of community interest and involvement in maintaining access to the Bitterroot at Stevensville Bridge, and we wouldn’t have reached this point without the landowner’s generosity and this broad commitment to finding a solution,” said Pat Saffel, FWP Region 2 Fisheries Manager.
The new agreement provides a longer-term solution and sets the stage for FWP to work with the new landowners and community members to design site improvements (such as improved parking and latrine) that will offer better facilities and resource protection.
“We look forward to putting together a site plan that fits the needs of our host landowners and community and keeps the area accessible and in great shape for years to come,” Saffel said.
(feature photo via glaciersir.com)