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Fort Smith, MT -- Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area has scheduled another public meeting on Thursday, June 9, 2011 to review new proposals for work at the Afterbay Dam North River Access and the 3-Mile River Ranch Access, according to park Superintendent Jerry Case. The meeting will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m.at the administrative offices of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, 5 Avenue B, Ft. Smith. A similar public meeting late last month of stakeholders led to a range of proposals for the project which will be further refined and discussed on Thursday.
"We heard people's concerns loud and clear when we announced that we were going to close these facilities for safety improvements and upgrades, and we look forward to working with all of our stakeholders to identify strategies to minimize disruption to anglers and visitors," said Case.
The project represents the first major improvements to the two sites since the park was created in 1968. Since the sites were originally built, use by anglers and other visitors had dramatically increased. The two sites now support a high volume of traffic and are used by large recreational vehicles with trailers hauling boats. This has caused safety problems with vehicles sliding into the river at the ramp facilities and becoming stuck in ditches alongside the sites. In addition, parking is difficult and could be dangerous for all vehicles. As currently constructed, the launch ramps are subject to erosion, deteriorating road surfaces and flooding.
Both sites will be improved as part of the project. The park will replace the leaking vault toilet at the Afterbay site and improve drainage of the parking areas. Under a normal construction schedule, project construction could take several weeks at each site.