Help Montana Get Wild & Scenic Again

Beartrap Canyon of the Madison River, MT - Scott BosseBeartrap Canyon of the Madison River, MT | © Scott Bosse

Now that the paddling and fishing season is winding down and winter is at the doorstep, what’s a Montana river lover to do?

Attend one of our Community River Forums, of course!

Throughout the month of October, American Rivers and its conservation partners are hosting a series of Community River Forums across the western part of the state to give local residents a chance to learn about some exciting new river conservation opportunities and let us know which rivers they would like to see protected on both public and private lands.

The forums kicked off in Bozeman this past week, and continue in the following communities over the next few weeks:

Red Lodge
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 7-9pm
Bridge Creek Backcountry Kitchen

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 7-9pm
Holiday Inn Downtown

Thursday, Oct. 24, 7-9pm
Whitefish Community Center

One of the key questions that we want to ask Montanans at these forums is – which new rivers do you think merit permanent protection under the federal Wild & Scenic Rivers Act?

It’s been 37 years since Montana has seen one of its rivers designated as Wild and Scenic. In 1976, then freshman Congressman Max Baucus spearheaded legislation to gain permanent protection for a 150-mile stretch of the Upper Missouri River and the North, Middle and South Forks of the Flathead River adjacent to Glacier National Park.

Because these four rivers are designated as Wild and Scenic, they can never be dammed, diverted, dewatered, polluted or otherwise harmed by water development projects, mining, oil and gas drilling, or other potentially harmful activities.

We’ve been mired in a Wild and Scenic drought ever since.

In the meantime, our neighbors in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming saw nearly 1,000 miles of their most spectacular rivers protected as Wild and Scenic in 2009 alone.  Among them were the Bruneau River in Idaho, the Virgin River in Utah, and the Snake River and a dozen of its tributaries in Wyoming.

In addition to engaging in a dialogue about which new rivers in Montana deserve Wild and Scenic protection, we want to hear from you about what kinds of activities pose the greatest threats to your local rivers, and what types of incentive-based conservation measures are needed for rivers flowing across private lands.

We hope you’ll join us at these Community River Forums so you can learn more about our work, and we can learn from you about which conservation strategies are most appropriate for your local rivers.

For more information, please go to or email me at

One Response to “Help Montana Get Wild & Scenic Again”

Fred Hollon

I was wondering what qualifications are necessary for W&S river Designation and discovered that I’m a day(s) late from obtaining a bucketful of Info from a meeting in Missoula. I live on the lower Clark Fork downstream from St. Regis and feel the entire Clark Fork Should be entitled that Designation from its headwaters to its confluence with the Flathead. I’m a very challenged typist and e-mail communication is quite laborious. I would like to know if this is possible and if so how can I and the lower Clark Fork community become involved. I do believe the Alberton Gorge section is already included.
I welcome your thoughts.

Fred Hollon
509-994 1708