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, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks 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 currently under a closure due to ice.
The Smith River is a world-famous destination for floaters but is in one of the more rural parts of Montana, starting outside of White Sulphur Springs and flowing into the Missouri River near Great Falls. Permits to float the river are issued in late winter through a lottery system and are difficult to draw.
For 2020 permit holders who drew floating permits during this period, if the permit holder so chooses, FWP will honor the same float date in the 2021 floating season.
This suspension will be reassessed as the April 24 date approaches.
For more information on FWP’s response to COVID-19, go online to fwp.mt.gov. For more information on COVID-19 in Montana, go to COVID19.mt.gov.