By Robert Lucke
The Hill County Park Board at their regular December meeting wrestled with several ongoing issues.
Live bait in Beaver Creek Reservoir took up a lot of board time. This summer Montana FWP allowed live bait in the reservoir without contacting Hill County Commissioners or the Park Board.
Members were shown a draft of a letter being sent to Larry Peterman, Director of fisheries for Montana FWP that protests the lifting of the no live bait ruling at the lake.
"We'll see what kind of a response we get from this letter," said Board Member John Goebel.
"It has always been my understanding that the lake is under the control of the County Commissioners and the Park Board," said Board Member Dean Hanson. "I think it is time to get the situation addressed and to get in control of what is ours."
Lou Hagener brought the Board up to date on the status of the bill to be carried to the legislature by Jon Tester asking for a fence waiver in Beaver Creek Park.
Board members were told that the Montana Stockgrowers had approved the bill as written, but that the Highway Department had a few reservations and was looking for some clarification.
"The Department of Transportation wants Beaver Creek named specifically in the bill," related County Commissioner Doug Kaercher. "And they would like some way of limiting liability on the state and county. Their idea is to have the grazers carry insurance."
"I would like to hear input from ranchers to see if it (insurance) is even an issue," continued Kaercher. "Maybe it isn't even an issue."
"When they are telling all the ranchers to take more insurance, they are telling you there is no open range out there," stated Commissioner Kathy Bessette.
"They are raising the criteria for Beaver Creek Park more than anywhere else," said Hagener.
"If the Highway Department does not openly oppose the bill, it will probably go through," continued Hagener. "If they are on the board, it will probably sail through."
Park Board members were told that probably bridges for the road will be started in the spring of 2001.
Members talked of the Department of Transportation developing more springs in the Park and wondered if that was going to actually occur.
Superintendent Golie reported that all the cattle were off the Park by November 25 and that $38,000 in grazing fees had been garnered in the fall of 2000.
Park Board members voted to leave the park use fees, the Kiwanis Camp rental fees, and the large group picnic site fees the same in 2001 as they were in 2000.
The next regular Park Board meeting will be in the Jail Complex Courtroom on January 8, 2001 at 7 p.m.