January 6, 2021
Montana FWP Region 5
Attn: Mark Ruggles
2300 Lake Elmo Drive
Billings, MT 59105
RE: Riverside FAS
Dear Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks,
The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a grassroot conservation organization with roughly 3,000 dues-paying members. We submit these comments in support of the proposed partnership between Musselshell County and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) for the creation of Riverside Fishing Access Site.
The 342-mile-long Musselshell river is habitat for a variety of cold and warmwater fishes, including brown trout, native whitefish, and in the lower reaches channel catfish and smallmouth bass. Three FWP maintained fishing access sites are currently available along the river, the closest being approximately 60 miles upstream of this proposed site. This proposed site would be the furthest downstream FWP-maintained site available and would give the public greater access to the warm water species of catfish and smallmouth bass found in the river. The site abuts approximately three miles of river reach, and the total size of the site is approximately 20 acres.
This site would provide developed camping and access to trails for the public to enjoy, without causing any disruption to the native ecosystem or hindering development. The environmental review found that there would be no reduction in agricultural land, effects to farmland, nor any adverse effects to wetlands in the area. Further, the location of this site is near the junction of Highways 12 and 87. The public travelling from all four directions would enjoy a greater opportunity to wet a line, camp or soak their feet in the lazy Musselshell river as it drifts through the cottonwoods.
Montana BHA strongly supports this proposal and applauds the four years of cooperative effort between Musselshell County and FWP to create this site for the benefit of all.
Jake Schwaller, Eastern Montana Board Member
Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers