By Michael Howell
Owners of the Fort Owen Ranch near Stevensville, Roy and Lori Capp, have some liability and security concerns related to the river access site which is located on their property north of the Stevensville bridge. Accompanied by Senator Fred Thomas, the couple met last weekend with Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Fishing Access Sites Manager Rory Zarling and officials from the Town of Stevensville. The Town of Stevensville has a right of way through the Capp property to reach the 26-acre town park which has a developed parking lot and bathroom facility.
At the site last Saturday, Zarling gave a synopsis of the various ways in which the department deals with access issues. While it does have the ability to purchase land for fishing access, he said, the department doesn’t have much money available right now.
“The sale price would have to be pretty low,” said Zarling. He said the agency also leases land, but that too would have to be a pretty reasonable price because the agency is strapped for funds.
According to Mayor Gene Mim Mack, the Town was being asked to consider if it would participate in some sort of land exchange that would consolidate the publicly owned portion of land around the bridge and boat launch site.
The group left the access site to discuss the Capps’ concerns and possible options at a facility located elsewhere on the ranch. The press was not allowed to attend the meeting.
According to Mayor Mim Mack, lots of options were discussed at the meeting and the result was that the Capps and Senator Thomas would mull things over and come up with a proposal of some sort for FWP and the Town to consider.