March 24, 2020
Ryan Kreiner, Fisheries Biologist
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
5427 HWY 200
Thompson Falls, MT 59873
Re: Thompson River Fishing Access Site
Dear Mr. Kreiner:
The Montana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers represents a growing number of sportsmen and women concerned with maintaining wildlife and fish habitat and public access to our wild places. Many of our 3,000+ members hunt and fish in the Thompson River drainage. Home to a productive recreational fishery consisting of native and non-native fishes such as brown trout, rainbow trout and west slope cutthroat trout, the Thompson River is also critical habitat for the threatened bull trout.
For these opportunities and habitat concerns, Montana BHA strongly supports Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ proposal for the purchase of 40 acres along the Thompson River to be managed as an undeveloped Fishing Access Site. Under a previous agreement with the former landowners, Montanans have been able to access much of the Thompson River for fishing, and the surrounding areas for hunting, camping and recreation. However, with much of the land along the Thompson River corridor being recently sold to an investment company, the future of public access and intact wildlife habitat is uncertain.
As the population of western Montana grows, and larger plots of land are sold off and developed, our opportunities for recreational access will diminish and wildlife habitat will become even more fractured. Preserving public access in a conservation-minded way not only ensures that future generations of Montanans will be able to enjoy one of the hidden fishing gems in our state, but would do so in a non-invasive way to the fishery.
On behalf of our members and chapter leaders, we encourage FWP to accept this proposal.
Aaron Agosto, Region 1 Montana BHA member
Molly Elliott, Region 1 Montana BHA Chapter Leader