Why not manage Ackley Lake as a Fishing Access Site?

Dear Editor,
What is the Future of Ackley Lake?
Currently, Ackley Lake is open to fishing, boating, and camping because Montana State Parks has a lease with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to manage the recreational use. DNRC owns and operates this irrigation project. State Parks funds and provides manpower to manage this state park. This lease expired in 2015. However, management is status quo for 2016.
The State Parks Board will meet on Aug. 18 at 8:30 a.m. at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park near Ulm, Montana, to decide if they will enter into another lease for 2017.
State Parks has limited funding and manpower for their 54 parks statewide and are currently considering dropping Ackley Lake from the park system and moving the manpower, funding, and facilities to higher priority parks. If this happens, DNRC may eliminate camping, and possibly recreational access if conflicts with their efforts occur.
Ackley could be managed as a Fishing Access Site where fishing, camping, and boating would be allowed. However, Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Region 4 (our area) does not have the funding or manpower to oversee another site. It would require a reappropriation of funding and manpower at the state office level to make this happen.
Please take action if you enjoy the current recreational opportunities at Ackley and would like to see them continued. Attend the meeting if you can. If you can’t, provide your thoughts and comments to Mary Sexton, Montana State Parks Board, msexton@3Rivers.net or 1-406-590-2751, and Jeff Hagener, Montana FWP Director, JHagener@mt.gov or 1-406-444-9089. There are also petitions you can sign at the three sporting goods stores in Lewistown, or at many businesses in Stanford, Hobson, Utica, Eddies Corner, Denton and Harlowton which will be presented at the State Parks Board meeting.
The more comments they receive, the more likely Ackley will continue to be managed for public use and remain open to the public. It is important that State Parks enters into another lease effective through 2017 which will give Fish, Wildlife, and Parks another year to determine how they will manage it. Nor would it be acceptable to have State Parks drop Ackley without having an arrangement for it to be managed as a Fishing Access Site.
Mike Getman



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