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Floaters address concerns along Madison River

By Eric Turcio, Reporter, eturcio@ktvm.com
Published On: Jul 24 2013 07:17:06 PM MDT
Updated On: Jul 24 2013 09:04:40 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

NBC Montana traveled west of Bozeman to the Black Ford Fishing Access Site and the Warm Springs Boat Launch areas Wednesday.

A report written by the Madison Citizen Advisory Committee to Fish, Wildlife and Parks recommended the agency address issues with trash and parking in those areas.

There is a six and a half mile stretch from the Warm Springs Boat Launch to Black Ford.

According to the report, the popularity of that section of the river can lead to increased trash, littering and illegal parking.

We caught up with floaters at the Warm Springs Boat Launch who tell us the parking lot is typically empty during the week. Floaters told us it is completely full by the weekend.

We watched people as they were blowing up their floats and getting ready ride down the river.

Melanie Johnson floats the Madison River and said trash and litter is easy to spot.

"There's always trash along the river," said Johnson.

Trash along the Madison River is just one of several problems highlighted in a recent report to FWP. Johnson told us she always throws away her trash and thinks others should too.

"I don't know why people have such a difficult time picking up after themselves, but there's always cans," said Johnson.

While walking along the area of the Madison River by Warm Springs Boat Launch, we did not see much trash around the area Wednesday.  However, we did drive over to the Black Ford Fishing Access Site and immediately noticed garbage left behind. One the ground we noticed empty water bottles, beer cans and even shoes.

Gabe Yeykal drives for Madison River Tubing and told us he also thinks parking at the site is an issue. He explained to us the over crowding with the parking is affecting his business.

"On weekends we're now being asked to use other parking lots by the Fish, Wildlife and Parks because we clog up this boat access," said Yeykal.

Yeykal told us he is also disappointed with the littering along the Madison River.

"Sometimes people won't go chase down their inner-tubes and that's obnoxious," he said.

Yeykal told NBC Montana on a busy Saturday, he can transport  80 people to floating sites along the Madison River.

The Madison River Citizens Advisory Committee suggested more recycling bins, prohibiting glass and developing a zero tolerance parking policy.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials tell NBC Montana they are evaluating recommendations from the committee and the public's response to those recommendations.