House Bill No. 212

Introduced By raney, crippen, ellis, harper, doherty, grinde, stang, simon, wagner

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act providing for river and lake island parks on state-owned or state-leased island property in navigable rivers, streams, and lakes; limiting development of island parks; and providing an immediate effective date."

WHEREAS, publicly owned or leased islands in Montana's navigable rivers, streams, and lakes provide the public an opportunity for a unique recreational experience; and

WHEREAS, in order to preserve the integrity of the island experience, those public properties should remain in as natural and undeveloped state as possible.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

NEW SECTION. Section 1.  Island parks established -- development limited. (1) In order to retain the integrity of the recreational experience associated with Montana's river and lake islands, development of state-owned or state-leased island property, which is hereby designated as island parks, including islands designated as state property under 77-1-102 70-18-203, lying within and surrounded by a navigable river, stream, or lake is limited, after [the effective date of this act], to:

(a) the installation of minimal signage indicating that the island is a designated island park in which development has been limited and encouraging the public to help in maintaining the island park's primitive character by packing out trash; and

(b) necessary latrine facilities if approved by the fish, wildlife, and parks commission.

(2) Improvements made to state-owned or state-leased island property prior to [the effective date of this act] may be maintained, but further development is limited as provided in this section.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of 77-1-203 regarding multiple-use management, the legislature finds that the highest and best use of island property administered as school trust land, EXCEPT ISLANDS DESIGNATED AS NATURAL AREAS PURSUANT TO TITLE 76, CHAPTER 12, is for recreation and grazing and that those islands should be left in as primitive state as possible to protect from the loss of potential future revenue that could result from the failure to leave the islands in an undeveloped condition.

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.