Big Hole River Setback

All four county’s that border the Big Hole River have approved a one hundred fifty foot setback from the high water mark along the entire river corridor restricting any new construction. This includes houses, lodges, etc. These county’s include Silver Bow, Deer Lodge, Madison and Beaverhead.

This setback was the brain child of the Big Hole Watershed Committee, which is a concensus group that consists of local ranchers, sportsmen, outfitters and guides, Trout Unlimited and Dept. of Enviromental Quality. Their idea was to protect the Big Hole River corridor from some of the things they have seen happen along other rivers, especially the Madison and Bitteroot.

Personally I wish this setback would have come about twenty years ago. My hat it off to all the people who were behind this and all the county commissioners who approved it.

I would like to hear any comments regarding this whether they be pro or con.


  1. Curt Reynolds

    Al & Art,

    This is a good news story about the Big Hole River. No more gawdy trophy homes right next to the river is a good thing.

    My wife and I just returned from Malta earlier today and we commented on how many houses from Great Falls to Wolf Creek are built right on the river. It will not be long until hunting is a thing of the past along this stretch of the Missouri River. Oh, and traffic cops are soon to arrive too for all the drift boats.

    Until then, Happy New Year.

  2. I found this article in the Montana Forum that talks about how much support is behind this zoning change. Although this is great news, I’m with Jack Kambich’s suggestion of changing it to a 150 mile setback.

    This past year, my wife Carla and I floated the Big Hole with Al and I was a bit dissapointed to see the large homes along the river. This area has always been pristine and relatively unchanged since I was a kid. Hopefully, this zoning change will make a difference and maybe it will deter new construction, period. Come to think of it, they should put height restrictions on new homes as well.

  3. Al,

    I agree with the new constuction law, unless the house is mine :), I don’t want to see a big, gotti house blocking my view. I am hoping this area will always be a vacation spot for my familiy. I have a lot of good memories in Divide and I would never want to see it change.

    Like the movie, A River Runs Through It, I am sure everyone has their own story to tell.


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