When rafters and anglers talk about great floating trips in Montana, the Smith River, right in the middle of the state, always comes up. Floating the river is already limited by a reservation program from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. And when somebody finds out that their application is accepted, the smiles are all around.

Well, you add that floating desire with the current drought conditions, let alone a normal water flow year, and the Smith River is almost too popular. The low water caused floating to stop earlier this year and now a set of new rules is being developed to keep the river in good condition. Officials have been noting the increased size of the float groups each year.

So, the Smith River Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) helped with the draft assessment and will will advise FWP after the comment period ends. The 2009 Smith River management plan will be updated by the new work. The Smith River State Park and River Corridor Recreation Management Plan is now taking public comment. FWP has two online public meetings December 1 and December 7, too. Work on finalizing the plan is not expected until early next year. Any new rules that come of the plan would not be effective until 2023.

96.3 The Blaze logo
Get our free mobile app

In a news release, FWP listed four issues on Smith River management:

  • Management of Camp Baker
  • Human waste management
  • Natural and cultural resource impacts
  • Floater opportunities.
  • The Environmental Assessment and the link to submit comments are online at the Fish, Wildlife and Parks website. Comments will be accepted until December 15th. Those meetings will have opportunities for the public to ask questions.

    RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

    To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

    LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

    Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

    More From 96.3 The Blaze