It’s that most wonderful time of year: Permit applications to float the Smith River State Park will be available from Jan. 6 to Feb. 20.
The lottery drawing permit results will be posted on March 4.
Permits are required to float the 59-mile section of river between Camp Baker and Eden Bridge and are issued each year through a lottery. The Smith River is noted for its spectacular scenery, remote setting and renowned trout fishing.
“Floating the Smith River is a Montana tradition,” said Chas Van Genderen, administrator for Montana State Parks. “It’s a premier outdoor recreation destination and a true gem of our state parks’ system. We look forward to a safe and enjoyable float season.”
Up to 15 people can float with one permit. A person applying for a Smith River permit must be at least 12 years old at the time they submit their permit application. However, there is no age restriction to participate on a Smith River float trip.
Applications must be submitted or postmarked by Feb. 20, along with a $10 nonrefundable permit application fee.
Lottery results will be available online on at stateparks.mt.gov. Successful applicants will also be notified through the mail. Those who receive a permit will pay the appropriate float fees at Camp Baker just prior to launching.
Last year, the greatest number of applications in the history of the program — 6,662 — was submitted, and more than 1,100 permits were awarded by the lottery drawing.
People can apply online, through the FWP Automated Licensing System. They also can download and print out a paper application and instructions at stateparks.mt.gov/smith-river, then mail the completed application to the address on the form. People also can pick up a paper application at any FWP office.
Super Permit chances will again be available this year, and the public can purchase as many $5 chances as they’d like. Montana State Parks issues one Super Permit each year through a separate lottery. The recipient of the Super Permit will be allowed to launch on any date of their choosing for that float season.
The opportunity to purchase chances for the Super Permit runs from Jan. 6 until March 20. Chances may be purchased online through the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Automated Licensing System and at any FWP regional office or license provider.
For more information about the Smith River State Park visit stateparks.mt.gov/smith-river.
With a lot of black bear activity on the Smith River last season, floaters are strongly urged to be bear aware and practice safe food storage in 2014. FWP will pursue mandatory food storage rules for 2015, after a public comment process.