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Who is On the Bitterroot River and What Do They Like?

a river wave
The Bitterroot River at a bridge pier. (KLYQ File Photo)
Everyone knows that the Bitterroot and Blackfoot Rivers are popular during the summer months – but how popular?

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park, the University of Montana, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are teaming up for a study of river use on the Blackfoot River and the West Fork and main stem of the Bitterroot River.

The goal is to improve agency efforts at public management. The study will collect data on when and where river use is happening. Researchers will also ask river users if they are satisfied with their activities.

“Self registration” boxes have been placed at the Montana FWP Access sites on the two rivers. Cards inside have questions about the stretch of river floated, group size and river experience.

Those boxes are new the to Bitterroot River, but have been in place for three years on the Blackfoot, due to work on the Milltown Dam.

Besides the cards, in-person surveys will be conducted at random of both commercial and non-commercial boaters as they come off the river.

Surveys will start this month, with results expected by next spring.

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