State Parks and FWP breifs and updates

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Montana State Parks & Recreation Board to Consider New Classification Policy

Montana State Parks & Recreation Board will hold a teleconference meeting on Friday, Feb. 22, at 8:15 a.m. The board will take action on the draft Classification and Investment Strategy Policy.

The draft board policy was created as one of the primary goals within the Montana State Parks Strategic Plan, and with recommendations from the Legislative Audit Division and the governor-appointed Parks in Focus Commission.

The public is invited to attend the teleconference at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) Headquarters located at 1420 E. 6th Avenue in Helena or at any FWP regional office location. A live audio stream of the meeting will be available online at: stateparks.mt.gov.

To view the Montana State Parks & Recreation Board Agenda, visit: http://stateparks.mt.gov/about-us/parksBoard.html.

Fish, Wildlife & Parks ensures meetings are fully accessible to persons with disabilities. If special accommodations are needed, please contact the Parks Division at 406-444-3750.

For more information on regional office locations, visit: http://fwp.mt.gov.

Visit Montana State Parks (stateparks.mt.gov) and enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and more and discover some of the greatest natural and cultural treasures on earth.

Proposed Thompson-Fisher Conservation easement amendment open to public input

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has opened public comment on a proposal to amend the Thompson-Fisher Conservation Easement to remove 1.63 acres of developed land and replace it with 5 acres of undeveloped, upland and riparian habitat along the Little Thompson River in Sanders County near Thompson Falls, Montana.

The land exchange and accompanying amendment to the conservation easement would resolve an encroachment issue on a portion of developed land that involves seven different parcels of State School Trust Land managed by Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Each parcel is adjacent to the conservation easement and lies within the Thompson River valley.

The DNRC parcels are leased for cabin sites and include various structures or other improvements that encroach onto the conservation easement.

Weyerhaeuser has agreed to remove the 1.63 acres of developed land from the easement and add 5 acres of undeveloped adjacent land to the existing conservation easement. This exchange would result in a net gain to the overall easement property of 3.37 acres.

The 5-acre parcel, situated along the Little Thompson River, is managed by Weyerhaeuser as forestland and would be managed in the same manner in the future.

The proposed amendment would not result in immediate changes in land use on the land removed from or added to the easement. No money would be exchanged to complete the proposed amendment.

The proposal’s draft environmental assessment is available for review on FWP’s website at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices.

Public comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 15. By regular mail: Kris Tempel, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901; or electronically to ktempel@mt.gov.

For more information about this project or the draft environmental assessment, please contact Kris Tempel at ktempel@mt.gov or at (406) 751-4573.

Noxious weed meeting

The Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage Advisory Council will meet from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Montana Department of Agriculture at 302 North Roberts Street, Helena.

The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit agr.mt.gov.

Hunter education course offerings

Instructors needed for hunter, bowhunter education

Hunter and bowhunter education courses are open to registration across northwest Montana.

Registration is available online at fwp.mt.gov/education/hunter. Classes are typically held in late winter/early spring and fall. Students are encouraged to take hunter education well in advance of the season they plan to hunt. Space is limited in individual communities.

Students are required to pick up materials and complete the course manual before the first night of class. Instructions for picking up materials and other info are available in the event description of each class.

Students must complete the manuals before the class.

A student must be at least 10 years old to register for Montana hunter education courses. Students ages 10-to-11 can take the course and hunt as an apprentice, but will not be fully certified until the year they turn 12.

There is no maximum age limit. Anyone 18 or older can complete an online course, but must still attend a field course to become certified. Students must attend all classroom sessions, the field course, and pass a final exam to become certified.

To purchase a Montana hunting license, any person born after January 1, 1985, must show a certificate of completing a hunter/bowhunter education course issued by Montana, any other state, or any Canadian province.

Hunter and bowhunter education courses are led by volunteer instructors who are passionate about preserving Montana’s hunting tradition and teaching firearm safety, as well as other outdoor skills. Instructors are needed in communities across northwest Montana. If you are interested in mentoring new hunters, please contact Dillon Tabish at (406) 751-4564 or visit fwp.mt.gov/education/hunter for more info.

Hunter Education Courses in Northwest Montana

“First Day” may include material pick-up day. Read event description online for specific class instructions and requirements:

Trout Creek, Feb. 25

Plains, March 4

Somers, March 5

Pablo, March 5

Whitefish, March 11

Eureka, March 11

Kalispell, March 22

Kalispell (online field day), April 6

Bowhunter Education Courses in Northwest Montana

Kalispell, April 2

Kalispell (youth only), April 18

Kalispell, May 2

Columbia Falls, May 9

Kalispell (online field day), May 18

Whitefish, May 30

Somers, June 4

Kalispell (online field day), July 13

Hunting seasons

Elk shoulder seasons end today

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds hunters that elk shoulder seasons end Feb. 15.

For more information on shoulder seasons, including an interactive map of hunting districts with shoulder seasons, look on the FWP’s website under “Shoulder Seasons,” on the FWP homepage and the hunting home page.

Male mountain lion hunting closes tonight in HD 109

The hunting of male mountain lions in northwestern Montana Hunting District 109 will close at one-half hour after sunset tonight.

The closure notice for the hunt came shortly after Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials received word that the pre-established harvest sub-quota for the district had been met.

Female mountain lion hunting closed in HD’s 200, 201, 202 and 203

The hunting of female mountain lions in western Montana hunting districts 200 and 201 closed Feb. 10.

The hunting of female mountain lions in western Montana hunting districts 202 and 203 closed Feb. 11.

The order halting the hunts came shortly after Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials received word that the pre-established harvest sub-quota for these districts had been met.

For more information on quotas and closures, visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov, click on “Hunting” then choose “Drawing & Quota Status”, or call the toll-free number at 1-800-385-7826.

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