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Lewistown Field Office
Release Date: 06/07/11
Contacts: Craig Flentie 406-538-1943    

BLM Reminds Boaters of Seasonal Restrictions

The Bureau of Land Management’s Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument Office (BLM) would like to remind recreationists that the seasonal motorized watercraft travel restrictions on the wild and scenic segments of the Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River will begin on Wednesday, June 15 this year.

The wild and scenic segments include those areas between Pilot Rock (river mile 52) and Deadman’s Rapids (river mile 84.5) and from Holmes Council Island (river mile 92.5) to the Fred Robinson Bridge (river mile 149). 

Between river miles 52 and 84.5, no upstream motorized travel is allowed and downstream motorized travel is allowed only at a no-wake speed. Between river miles 92.5 and 149, no motorize travel (upstream or downstream) is allowed Sunday through Wednesday and downstream motorized travel is allowed only at a no-wake speed Thursday through Saturday.
The split-week seasonal restriction between river mile 92.5 and 149 is a result of public comments offered during the preparation of the management plan for the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
These seasonal restrictions will remain in place through Thursday, September 15, 2011. 
The only exception to these seasonal restrictions may be occasional administrative, emergency or law enforcement needs. “Our administrative duties require that we occasionally use motorized watercraft to complete compliance checks, weed control efforts and recreation site maintenance. On occasion, emergency services (search and rescue and medical evacuations) and law enforcement needs also require that we use motorized watercraft. We appreciate the public’s understanding when these needs and duties interrupt an otherwise quiet river setting,” according to Monument Manager, Gary Slagel.
 History of Seasonal Closures
“Seasonal restrictions have been a part of managing and recreating of the Upper Missouri
since the first management plan was written for the Wild and Scenic Missouri (30 some years ago) and balance the interests of motorized and non-motorized recreationists. These seasonal restrictions are authorized under 43 CFR 8351.2-1; Special Rules,” offered Joe Nardinger, a BLM law enforcement ranger stationed in Fort Benton. 
Open Segments
The recreational segments of the Upper Missouri remain open to motorized watercraft use. These segments include the first 52 river miles from Fort Benton downstream to Pilot Rock (river miles 0 through 52) and an eight-mile segment from Deadman’s Rapids to Holmes Council Island (river miles 84.5 through 92.5).
Portable Toilets
“We would also like to remind overnight boaters/floaters they are required to have and use a portable toilet on their trip. We implemented this decision in 2004, based upon concern about human waste disposal along the Upper Missouri. Area landowners, boaters/floaters, county commissioners and the Central Montana Resource Advisory Council all supported implementing this requirement,” Nardinger added.
Monument Manager Gary Slagel would also like to remind campers to drown their campfires completely out before leaving camp. “As wet as we’ve been it may seem early to mention the dangers of live campfires and their potential to start wildfires. However, it’s surprising how often our river rangers find abandoned campsites with fires still burning. Regardless of where we’re camping, we all have to be extremely careful with campfires,” Slagel said.      
River Flows
River flows (at the Kipp Recreation Area) during the week beginning June 6, were at 42,600 cubic feet per second (CFS). Normal flows this time of year are closer to 16,700 CFS. Flows this large typically create notable/dangerous conditions with fast water carrying much debris and difficulties with launching and landing. “We want folks to have a safe and fun trip, but we certainly encourage floaters and boaters to assess these conditions, their equipment and their individual abilities before they launch,” Slagel added. 
If you have questions about river flows, please contact Gary Slagel at 406-538-1950 or Mark Schaefer at 406-622-4015.
If you have questions about these seasonal restrictions or to report a violation, please contact BLM rangers Joe Nardinger at 406-622-4017.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Lewistown Field Office   920 NE Main      Lewistown, MT 5959457   

Last updated: 06-28-2012