Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tell ’em you’re canoeing

Posted on Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 4:00 AM

Perhaps you’ve seen a jet boat whizzing by on the river this spring while you were fishing or walking along the banks. I certainly have. Despite the high ecological and recreational value of the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, and Blackfoot Rivers, certain reaches of these rivers near Missoula give free reign to motorized watercraft.

Existing regulations allow motorized recreation users to pose risks to human safety and the health of our rivers. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is currently revising the rules that guide when and where motorized boats can be used on these rivers. As an avid angler and floater of these rivers, I think it’s important to weigh in on the decision-making process.

More and more motorized watercraft are using our nearby rivers. Along with this increase in motorized traffic comes a growing concern about how they impact our rivers. High-speed motorboats leave wakes, which can cause shoreline erosion and disrupt fish and wildlife. Plus, motorboats have a higher potential for polluting our waters with oil and gas. They also place other users, like anglers, swimmers, and non-motorized boaters at risk, especially during summer when there are literally hundreds of other users out on the water.

The proposed rule change by FWP is a step in the right direction, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting this common-sense proposal. All those interested in maintaining the recreational values of our treasured rivers should weigh in with FWP by going to or calling 406-542-5500.

Wes Swaffar


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