Temporary closure rule for small section of Clark Fork River up for review
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: July 29, 2021

MISSOULA– Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks is taking public comment through August 16, 2021 on a rule that allows temporary closure of a small section of the Upper Clark Fork River just downstream of Bearmouth Fishing Access Site while Montana Rail Link (MRL) repairs a bridge.

The railway bridge has been in place for many years and the footings on its piers need to be replaced for long-term stability.  During construction, MRL will completely divert water from the river’s main channel to a side channel, creating safety hazards for floaters and others.  The rule would allow FWP to close the river if needed during this process.

A closure, if necessary, would help ensure public safety and would apply to the Clark Fork in the immediate vicinity of the bridge, approximately 100 feet up and downstream.  FWP says the bridge work is slated to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 7 and run through the end of the year although it could be completed sooner.  Closures could occur from Sept. 6-Dec. 31, and the public would be notified if they are put in place.

To review the proposed temporary closure rule and map of the area, go to Fish & Wildlife Commission page fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/commission under the June 24 Commission Agenda.

To comment, email coschell@mt.gov or mail to Region 2 FWP, Attn: Clark Fork Closure Rule; 3201 Spurgin Road; Missoula, MT 59804.  Comments must be received by Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.   The Commission is expected to make a final decision on the temporary closure rule at their August 20 meeting.