HELENA, MT- In a letter sent to the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, Montana Senators Tester and Daines urged flexibility in the permitting process to avoid severe economic damage to Montana’s rural communities and small businesses impacted by last week’s catastrophic funding in the Yellowstone region.
Mac Minard, Executive Director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, supports this effort and underscores the need for expedited permitting to allow for flexibility as the busy summer season begins.
“Montana’s outfitters and guides continue to hemorrhage revenue daily and are scrambling to come up with alternatives to be able pay staff and service their clients,” said Minard. “Rafting guides have identified new access points, backcountry guides are looking for alternative trailheads, fishing guides need new put-ins and walk in options. While they are coming up with creative solutions to try and save their summer season, it’s up to BLM and USFS to allow for the temporary permitting changes.”
Patrick Sipp, of Flying Pig Adventures, is one of many guides working on an immediate solution to benefit his business as the rest of the Gardiner community.
“Flooding has left us unable to access our typical take-out for our half day rafting trips,” said Sipp. “While we are actively refunding customers, we are hoping to be able to run trips again soon and salvage a portion of the summer. To do this, we need to be granted immediate, temporary access to other take-outs until we identify another viable alternative.”
In addition to calling for permitting flexibility, MOGA is advocating to reopen the Yellowstone River for public use and is hopeful this is a top priority of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The Mission of the Montana Outfitter and Guides Association is to protect, enhance, and effectively represent the Montana Outfitting Industry in all its forms. MOGA is proud to include more than 700 of Montana’s professional licensed outfitters and guides with operations that span the state’s regions. With years of experience guiding hunters, fishermen, horseback riders, skiers and snowmobilers, our outfitters will show you the best of Montana in a vacation that’s personalized to your needs.