UPDATE: March 26, 2024 at 2:11 PM

KGVO published a story last week on the somewhat confusing need for a State of Montana Conservation License to recreate on state lands. 

One of those areas of concern was Mt. Jumbo, of which parts are in what is called a ‘Wildlife Management Area’ supervised by the state. 

I spoke with Missoula FWP Regional and Program Manager specifically about the areas where a Montana Conservation License is required. 

“Mt. Jumbo is one of those kinds of confusing areas because it's a combination of lots of different lands,” began Crowser. “Some of the lands up there are city lands, some are Federal US Forest Service lands and there is some state land where there is a wildlife management area on a portion of the mountain. So if you head up to Mt. Jumbo you may or may not be on state land, I guess is the bottom line. So you may technically not need a license or you might.” 

Here are the specific areas that are designated as state lands on Mt. Jumbo where a conservation license is required. 

“They include some of the more popular hiking trails in the North Zone of Jumbo, so places like the Main North Loop Trail, Sheep Mountain Trail, the Sound of Music trail, and Sidewinder Trail,” she said. “A portion of those do go through the WMA (Wildlife Management Area). So if you're hiking those trails then you would need this conservation license because you're traveling through state land on a portion of your trip.” 

Crowser had more about the state-managed lands on Mt. Jumbo. 

“So a lot of us that use Mt. Jumbo around Missoula are also either fishing or hunting, and so buying those licenses automatically gets you a conservation license, or if we're just out at another one of our fishing access sites around the area, maybe walking our dog or floating the river. So if you get a conservation license it's going to take care of you in any of those places that you might visit.” 

Crowser said getting a State of Montana Conservation License is easy and very affordable. 

“It's not a big cost,” she said. “For adults, it's only $8.00. If you're under 12, you don't need it, unless you're also an apprentice hunter, but for youth 12 to 17 It's only $4.00, and then for seniors 62 and older, it's also $4.00.” 

First Report: March 21, 2024 at 2:32 PM

Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - There seems to be a lot of confusion over who in Missoula needs to purchase a State of Montana Wildlife Conservation License, and who doesn’t.

I can understand the confusion, so I reached out to Dylan Tabish, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Regional Education and Program Manager to clarify exactly who needs what license and where.

First, Tabish explained the State Wildlife Conservation License and who must have one.

There is Confusion over Who Must Have a Wildlife Conservation License

“A conservation license is required to access most state lands,” began Tabish. “So those are state sites like fishing access sites, wildlife management areas, and most Montana state trust lands that are managed by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. It does not apply to U.S. Forest Service sites, national parks, any federal properties, only on state-managed lands.”

A growing number of people are visiting state fishing access sites for recreation other than fishing, and overcrowding has become an issue, so even if you don’t fish, Tabish said you must purchase the license if you’re at a state site.

If You're Recreating at a STATE Site, You Must Have a State License

“About 50 percent of the users at our fishing access sites are non-anglers, and that includes people out dog walking or picnicking with their family. But imagine now, that 50 percent of the users at the sites aren't helping pay their fair share to upkeep these sites. So, this conservation license requirement is for everyone who's going to go to those sites. It helps spread out who's paying to have those toilets clean, who's paying to have those trails kept open and in good condition. It's everybody. It's not just the hunters and the anglers.”

What about walking my dog at the Blue Mountain Recreation Area? Tabish explained why no license is required.

“Just to make sure you understand, it’s not for Forest Service sites. Blue Mountain in Missoula, as far as I know, is federal land. You do not need a conservation license if you're going to go walk your dog at Blue Mountain. Now, if you're going to walk your dog at one of the State Fishing Access sites, one of those sites that have that brown trout logo, then you would need a conservation license.”

Now, we come up with an interesting question.

READ MORE: Aquatic Invasive Species Checkpoints: Protecting Montana's Water

What About Mount Jumbo?

What about Mount Jumbo? After all, most of Mount Jumbo is owned by the City of Missoula, so no permit is required, right?


According to the City of Missoula website:

Mount Jumbo WMA (Wildlife Management Area) is part of a larger complex of conservation lands owned by the City and US Forest Service and managed collectively as the North Zone of Mt Jumbo.

Tabish explained.

“Mount Jumbo is a good example of a place you do need a conservation license,” he said. Although parts of the Mount Jumbo area are owned by the City of Missoula and the U.S. Forest Service, however, it's collectively managed as a State Wildlife Management Area. So you would be required to have a conservation license. So if you're planning on enjoying Mount Jumbo, that larger complex of conservation lands, you do need to get that conservation license.”

So, let’s review..for any state lands, A STATE WILDLIFE CONSERVATION PERMIT IS REQUIRED.

For any local or federal lands, NO PERMIT IS REQUIRED.

So, go forth and recreate!

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Gallery Credit: KC

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