Complied by SHERRY DEVLIN of the Missoulian Thursday, April 20, 2000

River rescue classes teach preparedness

Swift water rescue technician classes will be offered on the Blackfoot River near Missoula in April, May and June.

The three-day classes are designed for rescue professionals, guides and recreational boaters who want to be better prepared for emergencies on or near rivers.

"The initial emphasis of the class is to teach students to recognize and avoid river hazards so they stay out of trouble," said Mike Johnston, a certified swift water rescue instructor and owner of Montana River Guides of Missoula.

The course begins with a day of indoor training, then continues for two days on the river. Students learn river dynamics and hydrology, how to deal with hazards and obstacles, shore-based and boat-based rescue techniques, technical rope systems, water contact and quick rescue methods, medical considerations in river rescue, entrapments, and boat flips and wraps.

Participants who successfully complete the course become certified swift water rescue technicians through Rescue 3 International, a group that has trained more than 40,000 students in swift water rescue since 1979.

The first class runs April 21-23; others are planned May 15-17, May 20-22 and June 9-11. Class fee is $275. For more information, call 273-4718.

Bowhunter education classes are free

POLSON - Bowhunter education classes are April 28 and 30 at Polson High School. Instructors will emphasize bowhunting safety, equipment, ethics and survival techniques.

To register, call Frank Noles at 883-2920 or Jim Nesladek at 883-5029. The class is required for all first-time bowhunters, regardless of age, and is offered at no charge through Montana's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Comment on plan for cross-country trail

The U.S. Forest Service is completing a study of a proposed trail stretching from Mexico to Canada - across federal, state, tribal, county and private property.

The Great Western Trail would follow established roads and trails, and would be designated as a National Scenic, National Historic or National Recreation Trail.

Covering about 1,900 miles, the trail would take travelers through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. The draft report and a summary will be mailed to anyone who is interested in the project, or can be viewed on the Web at www.northrim.net/sawtoothnf/ .

A final study report is scheduled for release in early summer. Requests or comments should be mailed to: U.S. Forest Service, Great Western Trail Study, 2647 Kimberly Road East, Twin Falls, Idaho 83301-7976.

Special permits may be needed to hunt bucks

HELENA - Are you applying for a permit to hunt mule deer?

In some hunting districts in the former "Southwestern-8" area, special permits will be required to hunt antlered mule deer bucks. Applying for these permits may be a new process for some hunters. Here's how:

€ Check Montana's new deer and elk hunting regulations to see if your district requires a special permit. The regulations explain which districts have an unlimited number of permits and which have limits.

€ If you plan to hunt in a permit-only district, get a copy of the special permit application from the regional Fish, Wildlife and Parks office, an FWP license agent from the FWP Web site at fwp.state.mt.us .

€ Fill out the special permit application, indicating your first, second and third hunting-district choices. Make sure at least one of your choices is a hunting district with an unlimited number of permits available.

€ It is not necessary to purchase a general deer license before applying for special permits. It is necessary to purchase a general elk license before applying for a special elk permit.

€ Hunters will be notified of the results of the special permit drawing in late August.

Workshops teach women outdoors skills

HELENA - Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks will sponsor two "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" workshops this summer at Lubrecht Experimental Forest east of Missoula.

The workshops - scheduled for July 30 through Aug. 2 and Aug. 4-6 - will give women a chance to learn outdoor skills such as fishing, fly-tying, archery, shotgun and rifle shooting, canoeing, map and compass reading, plant identification and Dutch oven cooking.

Designed for beginners and stressing hands-on experience, the workshop costs $185, which includes meals and lodging at Lubrecht. For more information, send your name and address to Liz Lodman, FWP-BOW Coordinator, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Mont. 59620. Or e-mail llodman@state.mt.us.

Passports available for vehicles in state parks

HELENA - Montana state parks open for camping on May 1. Resident campers can buy a state park passport for $20 (for the first vehicle) and $10 (for the second).

Non-resident campers must pay $24 for the same passport, or $12 for their second vehicle.

The passport provides entry for a vehicle and all occupants into a state park. Without a passport, the daily entrance fee for state parks is $4 per vehicle. Many parks have self-pay stations.

Westslope TU banquet coming this Friday

The Westslope Chapter of Trout Unlimited will hold its annual banquet this Friday, April 21 at the Doubletree Inn. Trout Unlimited is a national conservation group dedicated to the protection and enhancement of fisheries habitat and native trout. All proceeds from the banquet, raffle and auction go to ongoing efforts to preserve Montana's unparalleled cold-water fishery resources. Social hour begins at 6 p.m., dinner at 7. Tickets are available at the door.

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