Lower Yellowstone River
Issue: Wild Lands
Partner: The Wilderness Society
Airport Origin : Forsyth, MT
Local and state elected officials, river advocates, recreationists and reporters joined the governor of Montana to celebrate the allocation of funds for river access and infrastructure that will help communities along the river to realize the recreational opportunities the Yellowstone River has to offer. Flights highlighted areas of the river needing access improvements.
The Yellowstone River is the last free flowing river in the lower 48 states and one of our most cherished natural wonders. It’s also one of eastern Montana’s most underutilized resources. While the upper section in the Paradise Valley is a popular recreational destination, river recreation essentially stops east of Billings.
Community leaders and economic development experts across eastern Montana have all reached the same conclusion: more public access opportunities and public facilities like boat ramps, public restrooms, parks, and hiking trails in eastern Montana would be good for locals and attract more visitors.
Local communities have identified four significant public access gaps along the lower Yellowstone River and have found multiple opportunities to construct and improve public recreation infrastructure. Additional public access and investment in outdoor infrastructure could make more than 175 river miles from Hysham to the North Dakota border more available to Montanans and visitors for floating, boating, fishing and camping.
In September 2020, then-Gov. Steve Bullock earmarked $4 million for access and infrastructure proposals submitted by the Lower Yellowstone River Coalition, Now, an advisory committee will solicit feedback from residents, and determine the criteria for which areas would be best suited for this funding.