FWP extends comment period on Whitefish River proposal


KALISPELL, Mont. - Fish Wildlife and Parks officials have extended the comment period for a proposal to ban motorized boats on a section of the Whitefish River.

Paddlefish Sports owner Sonny Schierl frequently paddleboards on the Whitefish river.

He sees a lot of different types of watercraft out on the water.

But as a paddleboarder, he's only concerned with one type of watercraft.

"A lot of the bigger boats can't really come into the river channel safely once the water flow goes down. So I think that having a safe zone for people that just want to recreate is kind of a no-brainer you would think," Schierl said.

That's why Schierl is supporting a proposal put forward FWP that would restrict certain watercraft on the river from July 5 to September 30.

The proposal would allow only manual and electric powered watercraft out on Whitefish River here for just a potion of the summer season.

"There are so many people that use the river for paddling sports, swimming. And it's a nice reprieve from all the heavy boat traffic and usage out on the water," Schierl said.

But some don't want to see the changes to the river.

For Schierl, it's a matter of safety.

"It would be better to nip it in the bud before someone gets hurt. It's just so congested now that I think we need to set some standards for the future."

For now, boats are still allowed on the river, and no decision is expected to be made until FWP reviews the proposal in October.

People that want to voice their opinions to FWP may submit their data, views, or arguments concerning the proposed actions in writing by August 8 to: Montana of Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region One Office, 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, Montana, 59901.

You can also email FWP at:

Comments can also be submitted online at under Public Notices.

All comments must be submitted by August 8.