HELENA – Public access along the lower Yellowstone River is a rare commodity. However, a new committee convened by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and sponsored by Gov. Greg Gianforte is looking to improve access here and as a result protect fish and wildlife habitat and provide for more outdoor recreation opportunities.
“The lower Yellowstone is a unique Montana treasure with some of our most important agriculture lands, thriving rural communities and amazing hunting and fishing opportunities,” said Gov. Gianforte. “We’re looking to engage a broad cross-section of people passionate about this area on how best to move forward with protecting habitat and our local working lands while providing more public access and stimulating these local economies.”
During the 2021 Legislative session, FWP secured $4 million in funding to invest in habitat protection, establish additional strategic public access points and develop needed recreation infrastructure. The Lower Yellowstone Advisory Committee will advise FWP and others as they look for access opportunities along this part of the river between Hysham and the North Dakota border.
The committee will be chaired by Angie Grove, former chair of the Montana State Parks and Outdoor Recreation Board.
“The committee looks forward to working collectively with local communities, adjacent landowners and river users to develop a river management and infrastructure plan that preserves the rustic and agricultural nature of this amazing river corridor,” Grove said.
The committee will build on work done previously by the Lower Yellowstone River Coalition, which was established in early 2020 to look at enhancing access along the river corridor and advocate for support from the 2021 Montana Legislature for the effort.
The Yellowstone River is the longest, free-flowing river in the lower 48. Yet between Hysham and the North Dakota border, much of the river is relatively inaccessible for recreation, with stretches between access points of up to 50 miles.
The 12-person committee will help advise the department in how to prioritize projects in the area by setting broad criteria for evaluating proposals.
People interested in applying to be on the committee can go online to https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/loweryellowstonecommittee for more information. FWP is looking for representatives from local communities, businesses, landowners, recreation industry and the general public.
People interested in applying should email LowerYellowstone@mt.gov with information about their backgrounds and why they would like to serve on the committee.
Emails should be submitted by June 30.