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Public comment sought on Flathead River Management Plan

Posted at 12:17 PM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 14:23:36-04

KALISPELL — The Flathead National Forest and its partner agencies are getting down to the finer details of the proposed Flathead River Management Plan, giving the public a chance to comment on proposals which could bring some extra regulations on the river.

The agencies, including the US Forest Service and Glacier National Park, have been working on the outline of the Flathead River Plan for almost two years now. But whereas earlier meetings were about "scoping", or identifying the management issues, now there's an actual Draft Plan up for discussion.

The plan addresses a variety of issues, covering future use and development and how to preserve water quality and wildlife habitat on the "Three Forks" of the Flathead.

The concept is to provide a framework within the "Wild and Scenic River" status of the Flathead. But that's complicated, because of the different thresholds of "wild", "scenic" and "recreational." Which is why the plan could lead to a more rigorous permit system for floaters, especially on the North Fork.

The next meeting will be held on Aug. 20 in the Arts and Technology Building at Flathead Valley Community College.