In a continuing effort to help educate the community on the Madison River recreation management planning process, two board members from the Ennis Chamber of Commerce are hosting a short community meeting this Wednesday evening.
“Several of our chamber members went around to talk to local businesses and they had no idea (the river recreation management plan) was going on,” said John Way, who is an Ennis Chamber board member and owner of the Tackle Shop.
Way and new Ennis Chamber of Commerce President Karen Willet will host the meeting, but the main speaker will be Robin Cunningham, executive director of Fishing Outfitters Association of Montana, Way said.
Cunningham was part of the citizen advisory committee that helped Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks develop the rules about how river recreation management plans are developed.
FWP is in the first stage of developing a river recreation management plan for the Madison River. The plan will address recreation management for the entire stretch of the Madison River from West Yellowstone to Three Forks.
The agency is currently holding public meetings concerning the project and was in Ennis last Wednesday.
The next step in the process is for FWP to appoint a citizen advisory committee. Applications for the advisory committee will be accepted through March 16.
FWP has implemented recreation management plans on four rivers – the Beaverhead, Big Hole, Blackfoot and Smith Rivers. Way was on the citizen advisory committee for the Blackfoot River Recreation Management Plan and is versed in the process about to begin for the Madison River.
The important thing for people to remember is to make sure they voice their concerns, thoughts or desires all through the process, he said.
In developing a recreation management plan, FWP will receive public comments at any of the citizen advisory committee meetings, during a public comment period after a draft plan has been developed and while the FWP Commission is considering a final plan.
“They need to understand that it is a process and it effects us all and there will be several points in the process to make your voice heard,” Way said.
Wednesday’s meeting will be strictly informational and not a forum to present official comments, he said. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the Ennis school multipurpose room. For more information, call Way at the Tackle Shop, 682-4263.