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MT Trappers Association recommends no trapping at Lake Como Recreation Area

Published On: Dec 18 2013 05:56:46 PM MST   Updated On: Dec 18 2013 06:36:24 PM MST

The recommendation is more stringent than Forest Service regulations.

DARBY, Mont. -

The Montana Trappers Association has taken Forest Service trapping regulations one step further to protect recreationists and pets in the Lake Como area.

The move comes after a trapper set traps along Como ski trails last year.

That area is about 60 miles south of Missoula, in the Bitterroot Valley.

The Forest Service signed an emergency order imposing trap setbacks of 150 feet from trails, and its good for next season too.

The Trappers Association president and the president of the Como Trails Club tacked up a new sign with trapping regulations and the association's recommendations.

Trapping is allowed if you are 150 feet from cross-country ski trails or 1,000 feet from campgrounds and trailheads.

But the Trappers Association would just as soon trappers find a less populated, more remote area to set their traps.

"To promote trapping as a legitimate activity," said President Toby Walrath, "to pursue and to provide an enjoyable environment for the different user groups that are out there."

Tony Neaves checked out some of the 30 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails near Lake Como. He has skied this area since he was a kid.

"I think we have the best scenery in the entire ski areas around here," said Neaves. "They're all beautiful. But there's some pretty astounding scenery on the trail when you're out here skiing."

Skiers here can take their dogs with them. So traps would pose a problem for humans and animals.

The Trappers Association is working closely with skiers, the Forest Service and Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

"Wanting everybody to be able to come out and enjoy it," said FWP's Vivaca Crowser, "to feel good while they're out there, not worried."

Lake Como Recreation Area attracts 200,000 visitors a year. The Trappers Association said trapping is incompatible with so many people.

"Lake Como is probably the most heavily used recreation area in the Forest Service's Northern Region," said Darby District Ranger Chuck Oliver.