The Corner

National Park Service Blocks Access to Fishing Sites in Montana

In response to the government shutdown, the National Park Service has erected eight-foot-long concrete barriers to prevent anglers from launching their boats at two fishing access sites along the Bighorn River in Montana, according to a Billings Gazette report.

Anglers are supposed to pay a fee for using the sites at a nearby Park Service station, but Rick Law, an employee of the Bighorn Trout Shop, told the Billings Gazette that he hasn’t seen any NPS employees manning the station all summer. “I could see it if they had people up here working, monitoring and picking up trash, but they’re not,” Law said.

Visitors were not happy, and some launched their boats in spite of the barriers. “I don’t think it’s a matter of national security whether the anglers were going to go fishing,” one angler from California said.

Concrete barriers also blocked access to a federally run launch site at the nearby Bighorn Reservoir, with a roadside “interpretive site” cordoned off with yellow caution tape.

Steve Galetta, the co-owner of Bighorn Angler fly shop, told the Gazette that he could lose $10,000 in business just this weekend because of the closures.

Two photos posted on Galetta’s Bighorn Angler blog show an NPS vehicle blocking the entrance to one of the access points, and the empty parking lot of another, according to captions on the site:

“We continue to receive numerous calls about when the river will open. Unfortunately I am not a senator, political analyst, or the president of the United States so I have no idea,” wrote the author of the blog.

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