The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission is seeking comment on a tentatively approved rule that would eliminate the daily entrance fees at State Parks for Montana residents.

This proposed change is in response to a law passed by the 2003 Legislature that will fund State Parks through a $4 annual fee a car owner can pay when a car or light truck is registered with the local County Treasurer’s office.

"Beginning next year, instead of paying $5 a day to use State Parks, or $30 a year for a Parks Passport, all Montanans will have access to our 42 State Parks for a $4 vehicle license registration fee on light vehicles paid once a year,” said Doug Monger, Montana State Parks division administrator.  “The new funding will be great for Montanans and good for our 42 State Parks.”

Monger said a portion of the new vehicle registration fee will be used to help maintain the state’s popular fishing access sites.

Nonresident parks visitors will continue to pay $2-$5 for daily use of State Parks and a $30 nonresident State Parks Passport will be available.  Residents and nonresidents will continue to pay camping fees, which range from $12 to $15.

A variety of funding and fee structure changes were recommended by the Montana State Parks Futures II Committee appointed by Gov. Judy Martz to review the operations and management of the State Parks system. Monger said the committee concluded that daily entrance and Parks Passport fees were not enough to help get Montana’s parks and fishing access sites on a solid financial footing. Of the committee’s recommendations, the $4 vehicle registration fee combined with free entry into State Parks for Montanans had the broadest appeal.

In other action, the FWP Commission also passed a tentative rule change to implement a charge for camping at the Thompson Chain-of-Lakes Fishing Access Site complex between Kalispell and Libby. 

The FWP Commission will make final decisions on the proposed fee rule changes at its November meeting in Helena.

Copies of the proposed new rules may be obtained by contacting the FWP Parks Division at 406-444-3752, or by writing to Montana FWP-Parks Division, 1420 East 6th Ave., Helena, MT 59620-0701. 

The proposed rules are also available for review and comment on the FWP website at www.fwp.state.mt.us under Notices. Written comments may be sent to FWP, Parks Division, 1420 East Sixth Ave., P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.  The public may comment on the rules through Friday, Oct. 17.