There will be far fewer parking hassles for Clark Fork river floaters starting Thursday, thanks to a partnership between the University of Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Downtown Partnership, the Mountain Line and the City of Missoula.

ASUM Director of Transportation Jordan Hess spoke to KGVO News on Wednesday afternoon.

“The University of Montana’s U-Dash bus service is going to be operating a river recreation shuttle,” said Hess. “This will be for floaters who can ride the shuttle out to the Sha-Ron fishing access site in East Missoula and then float back to campus. It's going to run every Thursday through Sunday starting July 22 and run through August 29th.”

Hess said several agencies have collaborated to bring this shuttle service to river floaters.

“This has been a real partnership that's pulled this together,” he said. “We've had cooperation from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Missoula Downtown Partnership, and we've worked with Mountain Line and we've also worked with Missoula County, so everyone's coming together here to try to solve some problems around user conflicts and parking issues and impacts on the neighborhoods out in East Missoula.”

There will be room on the buses for float tubes, but larger devices may have to be transported deflated to the drop-off site.

“They could bring a multi-person flotation device or a stand up paddleboard or something like that if it were deflated,” he said. “As far as for coolers and dry bags and personal items we ask the people just be reasonable, so if it's something that easily fits under the seat and doesn't create a hazard, that's great. If it's real big, the driver may have to tell him that that's not allowed, but as long as it's a small item that's easy to handle. That's perfectly acceptable.”

Parking at the University of Montana is by permit only, however Hess said the permits are free.

“The University of Montana does have a parking permit system in place all year round, and so we do need them to get a parking permit and the parking permit is free, but they need to obtain that from the driver,” he said. “Then they can display it on their vehicle so they can park any of those parking lots that are right around the Adams Center right outside the Campus Recreation Center.”

The shuttle buses are free and will continue as conditions permit until August 29.

(Photo used by permission)

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