Well, now. It looks like a more serious effort is afoot (afloat?) to track river usage this summer . . .
The Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park are embarking on a joint plan this summer to track river use on the North and Middle Forks of the Flathead, with the eventual goal of crafting management plans for the Wild and Scenic rivers.
The initial plans date back to 1980 and 1986. Since then, visitor numbers to the region have surged, but the management plans have stayed untouched. In Glacier, nearly 3 million visited the Park last year. In 1986, Glacier saw a little more than 1.5 million visitors.
While anecdotal evidence indicates the rivers are getting more crowded with floaters and fishermen, the agencies don’t have baseline data for river usage, said Chris Prew, forest recreation program manager for the Flathead National Forest.