Fishing, swimming, walking tours and more. It's one of those Bitterroot Valley gems that sees an awful lot of activity during the course of a year.

Fort Owen State Park not only sees a lot of visitors, it has also seen its share of disagreements over the years regarding access and types of use. And Montana State Parks would really like to hear from you.

Montana State Parks is seeking public review of a draft environmental assessment for its proposal for public-access improvements on a newly acquired 0.9-acre parcel  immediately south of its Fort Owen State Park,  one mile northwest of Stevensville.

The proposed project would develop a parking area that would address decades-old challenges for management, improve access to this historic site and reduce trespass for the adjacent private landowner.

The adjacent private land ownership has not been without controversy. The historic Fort Owen Ranch was purchased several years ago from a local Stevensville family. At one point, the previous owner had closed the launch after trying to work out an unsuccessful land swap with the town of Stevensville.

Regardless of the past, Montana State Parks would like to move forward with input from those who recreate in this area. Public comment is being accepted until February 25. You can see the draft assessment here. And you can submit comments via email to shrose@mt.gov.

It sounds like a pretty good thing. The key is going to be for users to show it the respect it deserves.

 

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