Lower Yellowstone committee makes significant headway
Tuesday Nov. 16th, 2021
MILES CITY – The Lower Yellowstone River Corridor Advisory Committee (LYRC Committee) has made substantial progress since its first meeting in late August. The committee met Nov. 8 in Miles City and is preparing to submit its final recommendations for improving public access along the river.
The LYRC Committee is a citizen group sponsored by Gov. Greg Gianforte and convened by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. The group was tasked with exploring new access, recreation and habitat conservation opportunities along the Lower Yellowstone, prioritizing areas where access is most limited.
After dividing into three work groups, LYRC members engaged with local landowners and community members, considered regional impacts and conducted site visits to develop recommendations to FWP. These recommendations include:
a scoring matrix for evaluating land acquisitions and other opportunities aimed at improving public access and habitat conservation
overall management approaches that maximize diverse recreational opportunities, prioritizing those where access is most limited
a list of existing or potential future opportunities for public access and/or habitat conservation
needed amenities, safety features and economic growth considerations at access points
strategies for securing long-term funding needs
During the 2021 legislative session, FWP secured $4 million in state spending authority to support this effort.
On Nov. 8, the whole committee approved recommendations crafted by the work groups. The next steps include finalizing and presentation of a report to FWP Director Hank Worsech by January 2022 or earlier. FWP will then determine, with public input, how to move forward on the recommendations.
Angie Grove (pointing to sign), chairperson for the Lower Yellowstone River Advisory Committee, discusses the rich history of the Powder River Depot area east of Miles City with committee members Lance Kalfell and Joel Krautter as the group visits several sites along the lower river corridor in October in search of possible new public access points. The 2020 Montana Legislature appropriated $4 million in funding toward the project, and the volunteer committee was assembled to make recommendations to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to expand access and recreation opportunities along the Lower Yellowstone.