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BOZEMAN — The federal government shutdown has delayed officials from being able to address the crowding issue on the Madison River.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the Madison River Negotiated Rulemaking Committee was scheduled to meet on Thursday and Friday but canceled this week's meetings because the shutdown prevented it from using a facilitator Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks recommended for the group.

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The facilitator is a furloughed employee of the U.S. Geological Survey, and he can't attend meetings or do any work until the government shutdown is over.

Committee member Lauren Wittorp, who is also executive director of the Madison River Foundation, says she thinks "there's still plenty of time left" to regulate crowding on the river by mid-spring.

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