Lower Yellowstone River

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Lower Yellowstone River

Date: 07/07/2020     State: MT     Issue: Wild Lands     Partners: Montana Wildlife Federation, The Wilderness Society


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.

The Lower Yellowstone River Coalition was recently founded to help expand sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities along the Lower Yellowstone River. Working with local community members they have identified four significant public access gaps along the lower Yellowstone River and multiple opportunities to construct and improve public facilities. 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.

The coalition is working to build an Action Plan that would essentially direct Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to pursue new, and improve existing, recreation opportunities along that corridor, including new river access and fishing sites, boat ramps, campsites, restrooms, visitor centers, interpretive trails, and possible state park designations.

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