The Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park are continuing to seek public input on a new comprehensive river management plan for the three forks of the Flathead River.
A total of 219 miles of the Flathead are designated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. The Act was intended to safeguard the special character of certain U.S. rivers. As part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the Flathead is subject to federal planning to preserve and protect its outstanding natural value, including the various wildlife that call the river home.
A series of meetings is scheduled over the summer to encourage public participation in the planning process.
An upcoming meeting tomorrow night will focus on wildlife monitoring and management along the river.
Chris Prew is with the Flathead National Forest.
"Our general meeting outline is focusing on the baseline conditions of the resource, in this case wildlife when the river was designated, and how that resource was addressed in the river management plan," he says.
Prew says a grizzly bear conservation strategy will be revised to reflect the possibility of delisting in the future, but otherwise, he says there are no real major wildlife issues on the agenda.
For that reason, Prew says the public needs to be involved.
"We want to hear from them, we might be missing something," he says.
Alec Underwood is with the Montana Wildlife Federation.
"I think what needs to be considered in this plan is how increased recreation over time if it continues to increase may affect wildlife in the corridor and possibly our fisheries," Underwood says.
The next public meeting on the comprehensive river management plan takes place Wednesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell.
The first public meeting in May on water quality drew about 70 people.