Caverns by candlelight (IR copy)

Holiday candlelight tours begin Dec. 20 at Lewis & Clark Caverns.

Candlelight tours back at Lewis & Clark Caverns

Montana State Parks has announced the return of Holiday Candlelight Tours at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. Tickets go on sale Monday, Dec 2.

Holiday Candlelight Tours are only offered in December and this year’s tour dates are Dec 20, 21, 22 and Dec 27, 28 and 29. Eight tours are offered from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day.

For tickets, call the visitor center at 406-287-3541 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. Tickets are $20 for adults (12 and Up), $8 for children (6 to 11). Children 5 and under are discouraged from attempting the tour. Tour size is limited, and tickets are non-refundable.

Important information to consider before attending the tour:

The 2-mile tour takes approximately two hours. The first 1.25 miles is a walk to the cave entrance and may require walking through snowy conditions. Cave temperature is 48 degrees, but outside temperature and wind can be highly variable. Attendees should dress appropriately for the weather.

For safety reasons, the first (upper) half of the caverns will be shown with the lights on. The lower half of the cave will be completed by candlelight. Parents should use their own judgment if children will be comfortable in the darkness of the cave and in the outside cold temperatures.

The road to the upper visitor center is plowed and sanded. All-wheel, 4-wheel, or front wheel drive vehicles are recommended.

Coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be available at the visitor center.

For more information, call the park visitor center at 406-287-3541.

Elkhorn Mountains seasonal roads set to close

Seasonal-use roads in the Elkhorn Mountains close to motorized use on Monday, Dec. 2, this year. The roads will re–open to motorized travel on May 15, 2020. This annual seasonal closure provides for elk security in the Elkhorn Mountains over the winter months.

Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) display Forest Service roads and trails open to motorized vehicles and the season of use for each route. These maps can be downloaded for free at www.fs.usda.gov/main/hlcnf/maps-pubs or picked up at any Forest Service office.

If you have questions about motorized access in the Elkhorn Mountains or are seeking other information about the Townsend Ranger District, call the district office at 406-266-3425.

Fish and Wildlife Commission to meet

The Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission will meet Thursday, Dec. 5, at FWP Headquarters, 1420 E. 6th Ave. The meeting will be streamed live via video to all FWP regional offices. The meeting will also be audio streamed online at fwp.mt.gov. The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m.

The commission will make final decisions on the following topics:

  • Upper Missouri River Reservoir Fisheries Management Plan (R4)
  • Holter Reservoir Fishing Regulation Changes (R4)
  • Annual Rule Approved Commercial Bait Seining Waters

The commission will also look at endorsing the following:

  • Upper Missouri River Reservoir Advisory Committee (R4)
  • Flathead Lake Fishing Access Site near Dayton (R1)

The commission will hear a host of other presentations and proposals, including:

  • Biennial Water Leasing Report Drought Closures and Status, informational
  • Overview of Petition Process
  • Hovercraft Petition
  • Extend Hunting Opportunities to Licensed Hunters Age 10-15
  • Regulation Change to Allow the Accompanying Adult to Hunt During the Youth Statewide Two-Day Deer Hunt
  • 2020/2021 Helena Urban Deer Plan Quota Ranges and Quota, proposed
  • White Sulphur Springs Mule Deer Action Plan
  • 2020/2021 Deer Hunting Seasons and Hunting District Boundaries, proposed
  • 2020 Elk Shoulder Seasons, Proposed

For the full agenda and background on the scheduled topics, go to the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov; under “Quick Links” click “Commission.”

FWP's website offers live streamed audio of each Fish & Wildlife Commission meeting. The public can also view a live television feed of the meeting at FWP regional offices. 

Comments sought on 2020-2021 fee schedule

Montana State Parks is seeking public comment on the draft Montana State Parks 2020/2021 Fee Schedule. If adopted, the fee schedule would be in effect from Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2021. Comments will be accepted through Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019 at 5 p.m.

As proposed, the new fee schedule would make modest adjustments to daily entrance fees, hike/bike camping, RV dumping, and cave tours at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. Other fee changes include increases to firewood permits and the Non-Resident Annual Pass.

User fees account for approximately 25% of the overall Montana State Parks operations budget. Modest increases in user fees help the state park system keep up with rising operational costs and maintenance of visitor amenities.

To review the proposed 2020-2021 Montana State Parks Fee Schedule and a reference to both current and proposed fees, visit stateparks.mt.gov click on ‘Public Comments & Notices’ on the right-hand task bar.

The public can also email comments to FWPParksRules@mt.gov, or send comments by mail to: Montana State Parks, 2020/2021 Fee Schedule, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.

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