Are You Okay With Hovercraft on Bitterroot and Clark Fork Rivers?
A petition that has been hovering over Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission desk for some time will learn soon if it holds water.
The commission will meet in Helena this Monday, January 6, to discuss several items, including a petition filed by Jim Crews of Stevensville to allow hovercraft on the Bitterroot and Clark Fork Rivers.
The petition asks for permission for hovercraft owners to use their crafts to hover on a cushion of air over water, ice and land on the two rivers, propelled by a huge fan. Motorized boats are already allowed on the Bitterroot and on a section of the Clark Fork that runs through Missoula, but only from October 31 to January 31. During that time period, only boats with 20 horsepower motors or less are allowed. That rule has been in effect for over 8 years, some of it having to do with noise ordinances.
So, what's the big deal about hovercraft? Well, most of their motors range from 29 to 100hp, which is necessary to stay above water, with twin engines providing lift and fan speed. The Bitterroot Chapter of Trout Unlimited is against it. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. Monday at the FWP headquarters and will be live-streamed to all regional FWP offices around the state.