Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is moving forward with plans to improve management of public recreation on its Flathead Lake island properties, including Bird, Cedar, Douglas, and Goose islands.
FWP manages the four islands as Wildlife Habitat Protection Areas (WHPAs) guided by a plan developed in 2009 by a committee of stakeholders.
Recreational use of the islands continues to grow along with impacts to wildlife habitat. FWP sought public input this fall on a variety of proposals to balance recreational opportunities and habitat conservation on the four islands through a draft environmental assessment process. After reviewing input and revising certain proposals, FWP issued a decision notice on Jan. 5 that outlines specific plans that will go into effect involving the islands. These plans include:
• Establish first-come, first-serve designated campsites for overnight stays on Bird and Cedar Islands. These campsites would in traditional use areas to limit proliferation of additional sites and overall impacts to the island’s wildlife habitat.
• Install a centrally located composting toilet on both Bird and Cedar Islands to address human waste concerns and visitor health and safety issues. Construct a minimal trail system to connect campsites and the composting toilet on Cedar Island.
• Install appropriate signage and informational kiosks on all four islands to inform recreationists of the islands’ history, management goals, seasonal closures and public use regulations.
• Camping will not be permitted on Douglas and Goose Islands to conserve wildlife habitat, and to conform with existing WHPA management.
• All recreational use (day use and camping) would be prohibited during the waterfowl nesting season (March 1-July 15) on Bird, Douglas, and Goose Islands.
• Prohibit campfires but allow gas or propane fueled camp stoves in accordance with prevailing fire restrictions on Bird and Cedar Islands. Prohibit campfires and all camp stoves on Douglas and Goose Islands.
Additional details on these proposals, including other management action, are available online at https://fwp.mt.gov/news/public-notices.