MILES CITY – Montana State Parks, a division of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, is proposing increasing lodging and gathering options at Tongue River Reservoir and Cooney Reservoir state parks.
At Tongue River Reservoir State Park, which is in Bighorn County about 30 miles north of Sheridan, Wyo., FWP would like to add up to five rental cabins and a day use area. At Cooney Reservoir State Park, which is in Carbon County about 40 miles southwest of Billings, FWP wants to add up to eight guest cabins and a day use area.
A draft Environmental Assessment of the property is available for public comment through April 20 on FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov.
If approved, construction on the projects would begin in summer or fall of 2022, and the initial phase would be complete that fall or in spring 2023. The plan calls for building three cabins at TRR and two cabins at Cooney, but more cabins and day use areas would be added later as funds become available.
Currently only tent and RV camping is available at both parks. Adding cabins would meet recreational demand for alternative lodging, bring in revenue and improve ADA accessibility.
The preferred locations for cabins at Tongue River Reservoir include the leased area south of Gooseneck Bay or between the campground of Pee Wee South and Pee Wee north near the shoreline. A solar system is needed for lights and propane for heat. Potable water is one mile away in a campground.
At Cooney Reservoir State Park, possible sites for cabins in the Red Lodge Campground are on a bench adjacent to the Red Lodge entrance road and south of the south loop road adjacent to improved campsites. Cooney site excavation would exclude extension of existing water lines for a hydrant and extension of existing electrical service.
At both sites, cabin views would overlook the reservoir. The preferred cabin floorplan is a 14-by-17-foot, two-room model with porch that will sleep up to six with no kitchen. A vault restroom would be included to serve cabin users at both sites. Site amenities such as fire rings and picnic tables would also be added.
If rentals are available during peak season and ice fishing, it is projected that the cabins could generate enough revenue to pay for themselves in five to six years.
Written public comments will be accepted until 5 p.m., April 20, 2022, and can be mailed or emailed to the addresses below:
FWP Region 7 Recreation Manager
Miles City, MT 59301
FWP Region 5 Supervisor
2300 Lake Elmo Drive
Billings, MT 59105