After this month's wild weather swings, I'm sure you're more than ready for summer. But in 2024, outdoor activities on state lands will require more than just getting the camping gear together and your bikes, boots, and boats loaded.

That's because this is the first year you need also to have the new Montana Conservation License to access "most state lands" from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

While the program approved by the Legislature was sold as a more uniform replacement for previous permits, it's still something that long-time Montana residents are used to so here are the details to keep you legal.

RELATED: New Conservation Licenses Explained

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Who Needs It?

Basically everyone except little kids. Anyone 12 and older is required to have a Conservation License to access state locations like Fishing Access Sites, Wildlife Management Areas, and Wildlife Habitat Protection Areas. So that means if you're launching watercraft, viewing wildlife, hiking, or biking, you'll need a permit. And if you have a fishing license, you'll still need to buy the Conservation License.

However, the licenses are needed at Montana State Parks, where your Montana license plate will continue to get in free. And trappers, "concentrated recreational users" like tour operators, and other commercial users, will still need a Special Recreational Use License.

What does it cost?

For residents, you'll have to shell out $8, $4 for teens and seniors. Non-residents will have to pay $10. You'll need a valid driver's license or other photo ID, and provide the last four digits of a Social Security number.

If you qualify as disabled, the license is also $8, which allows you to purchase some hunting licenses at half-cost.

Licenses are available online, from a local FWP office or any other license provider.

FWP says the new license will generate revenue for maintenance and operations by spreading those costs evenly across all recreation user groups, not just hunters and anglers. The agency hasn't indicated how strictly it will enforce the new requirement.

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Gallery Credit: Ashley

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