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FWP suspends Smith River float recreation through Apr. 24

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Posted at 6:10 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 12:16:39-04

HELENA — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is suspending float recreation on Smith River following state COVID-19 health guidelines

To comply with current directives from Gov. Steve Bullock on social distancing, staying at home, and for the 14-day quarantine for out-of-state visitors, FWP is suspending all float recreation and camping on the Smith River through April 24.

“I realize that this closure may present a hardship to some, and I do not issue it lightly,” said FWP Director Martha Williams. “However, this is necessary to prevent the further introduction of COVID-19 into rural areas that have as of yet seen few infections and which rely on the services of small rural hospitals and medical facilities.”

The Smith River is one of the most popular floating recreation areas in the state, and permits are drawn through a lottery system.

The Smith River is also currently under closure due to ice.

FWP will honor the same float date in the 2021 floating season for 2020 permit holders who drew floating permits during this period, if the permit holder so chooses.

Officials will reevaluate the situation as Apr. 24 draws closer.