FWP Looking for Public Feedback on Bitterroot River Closure
In early April, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks put an emergency closure on a segment of the Bitterroot River, which stopped all floating. But now, some people are worried the closure will be permanent.
The closure is between the Woodside and Tucker fishing access sites and FWP spokeswoman Vivica Crowser says the closure has had some negative feedback from the public.
“It’s not very common to close a stretch of river, so there has definitely been some concern that this is going to be long term, or that this wasn’t the correct decision,” Crowser said. “We have found some signs posted on site saying ‘free the river’ and ‘open it back up.'”
The river was closed because of a dam that took the life of a floater last year. After multiple accidents and a fatality, officials decided to post signs advising people to take their boats around the dam. However, spring flows began making access to safe portage too difficult for many floaters.
“We realized that with spring flows as high as they are and getting higher, reaching that portage could be difficult for some boaters,” Crowser said. “So what we did for now is put a temporary emergency closure in place for floating on that stretch of river, in the interest of public safety.”
Fish wildlife and parks wants public feedback on the river closure. Anyone who would like to comment can call the Missoula FWP office at 542-5500 and leave their comments with Sharon Rose.