In This Issue:
- Fishing Outfitter / Guide Economic Survey
- Board of Outfitters updates: Appointments, Rules Review
- Gear Insurance Coverage Rate to be Reduced in 2018
- Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project
- Our Industry Loses a Great Guide – Tim Mosolf of Dillon
- Classified Ad re BH2 Days Request
Fishing Industry Economic Survey
Eleven years ago, in 2006, FOAM partnered with U of M’s Institute of Tourism and Recreational Research (ITRR) to conduct a survey of fishing outfitters and guides, asking a series of questions about income, pay, expenses, and the like. Unfortunately, only a handful of our members participated, yielding scant data to build a picture of our industry’s benefits to Montana.
ITRR will be again conducting a similar survey next spring covering the 2017 season. FOAM is eager to help because now, more than ever, we need firm, current economic data to show Montanans and others how much we contribute to the growing tourism economic benefits reaped annually.
Here’s a description of what ITRR has in mind, written by Norma Nickerson, ITRR coordinator for this survey:
“With more than a decade since the last study, the MT Tourism Advisory Council, approved a study to update the outfitting/guiding industry data. As in the previous study, ITRR will collect data from both clients and outfitters/guides across a wide spectrum of outdoor activities.
Beginning this month, and running through the fall, ITRR will be asking clients to provide information about their guided trip experiences as well as their entire spending in Montana (not just their guided trip).
In early 2018, they will also ask outfitters and guides to provide information regarding their revenues and expenses for the previous full year so they can comprehensively analyze the contribution outfitters and guides provide to the state’s economy.
ITRR is under research review board guidelines to adhere to strict confidentiality requirements. All data is anonymous and is destroyed upon the completion of the study.
In 2006, ITRR wrote: ‘The outfitter industry is a viable sub-component of Montana’s travel industry, provides jobs and proprietor income, and is the reason why 91,000 nonresidents visit Montana. For an additional 227,000 nonresidents, it added value to their Montana trip.’
It is important to follow up with this new study to provide up-to-date data to policy makers and tourism promoters on the economic impacts guiding provides to the state, which in turn ties together the need to maintain public access to lands and waterways.”
For the record, the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research conducts research on travel, recreation and tourism. Located in The University of Montana’s, W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, ITRR has served as the research arm of Montana’s tourism and recreation industry for 30 years. Its overall mission is to provide information that will help the industry make informed decisions about planning, promotion and management. Thus, the research conducted is designed to assist both private firms and public agencies who provide facilities and services to visitors and residents.
FOAM survey re “willingness, or not, to participate in an economic survey”
This fall, FOAM will send out a survey to our outfitter and guide members asking two questions: “Are you willing to participate in the ITRR economic survey?” and “If not, why not?”
We’ve listed a series of reasons we’ve heard over the years why FOAM members haven’t been willing to share their business data – income, expenses, etc. – through two surveys, ITRR’s and FOAM’s own business survey from several years ago.
We’d like to know what keeps our members from sharing their info, in spite of the fact that both ITRR and FOAM guarantee the information will be anonymous and will be destroyed after the survey is completed.
For those who participated in both the ITRR and FOAM surveys: Thanks! Your info helped form a rough estimate of our contribution to Montana’s economy.
For those who didn’t participate, please take our “willingness” survey and tell us what problems you see with sharing this data.
Board of Outfitters Update
Appointments to the Board
Governor Bullock appointed Todd Earp to the hunting outfitter seat on the board this spring, just in time for the June 2 board meeting in Helena. Earp will serve a 3-year term. Todd has been a licensed hunting outfitter for 26 years, operating out of Corvallis with his business, White Mountain Outfitters. Earp replaces Pat Tabor, Montana Outfitters and Guides Ass’n (MOGA) President, as the hunting outfitter on the board.
The Governor has not selected a replacement for Robin Cunningham, long-time fishing outfitter member of the board. Cunningham was not confirmed by the Senate during the 2017 legislative session.
The FOAM Board of Directors has nominated and recommended Matthew Greemore of Flatline Outfitters out of Twin Bridges as FOAM’s candidate for the fishing outfitter board position. We are waiting for the Governor’s selection to be announced.
If you’d like to join us in recommending Greemore for the position, email Stacey Otterstrom (email@example.com) with your comment of support for Matt.
MBO Rule Review
The board has proposed, put out for public comment, reviewed comments, and adopted, with some changes, a series of rules aimed at simplifying and improving our industry regulations.
Rule changes include:
– 24.171.408 Outfitter Records – removing the requirement that hunting outfitters report the species, sex, the district hunted, and location where the animal was taken, on public or private land. The Montana Outfitters and Guides Ass’n. (MOGA) proposed removing this information, arguing that such info should be collected by FWP, not the MBO and that the information has never been used for game management.
NOTE: Senate Bill 264, written and sponsored by MOGA this 2017 session, would have removed all outfitter reporting requirements except those “specific and limited to purpose of professional licensing.” Gov. Bullock vetoed the bill, saying that the information outfitters currently record was important data that should be retained for the good of Montana and Montanans. Current records include the hunting harvest data proposed for removal in board rules along with the “stream and stretch” information FOAM has long recommended and used by FOAM and FWP for proposing and managing recreational river use.
The rule also clarified how outfitter records could be requested and by whom. FOAM added this language to make sure outfitter statistics could be used by FWP for river and resource management purposes.
During board discussion and vote to adopt or not this rule, the Governor’s veto of an outfitter records bill noted below was only briefly mentioned. FWP legal commented that the notion that hunting harvest data was never requested was erroneous, noting that many requests had been made, but no info had been rendered by board staff. FWP also outlined how this data had been used for successful prosecution of wildlife cases in the past. Neither the veto nor FWP’s comment had any effect in deliberations. The rule change passed 4 – 2 with public members Tim Aldrich and Hugo Tureck voting “No”.
– 24.171.412 Safety and First Aid Provisions – adding a list of specific first aid topics and techniques for board staff to refer to when gauging if a particular first aid course fulfilled board cirricula criteria. This method allows staff to judge whether to include a course in the FA list allowed for licensure by the board.
And, the rule added FOAM’s recommendation that while online courses are acceptable, a hands-on course must be taken every four years. We reasoned that actual in-person use of first aid methods and procedures was important to keep licensees periodically up to date rather than relying solely on online video courses.
When the rules were originally proposed, this section was unanimously approved. However, during the June 2 review of comments and vote for adoption, MOGA members opposed this section, in spite of their seated MBO members approving the section, saying that it was too hard for them to find hands-on courses where they lived and that the few courses they did find didn’t cover first aid as well as the current online course did.
With no fishing-only outfitter on the board during the meeting, FOAM could not argue that there were sufficient courses available that any responsible outfitter could seek out a hands-on course every four years. Fortunately, the fish/hunt outfitter member John Way, pointed out this availability during board discussion.
However, arguments that the online course was superior to any hands-on courses carried the vote, again 4 -2 with Aldrich and Tureck voting no. FOAM was disappointed that Mr. Way, with EMT training, agreed that the online videos were sufficient or better than actual hands-on courses.
– 24.171.413 – Watercraft Identification – Board staff has decided to change the boat stickers once more, only a year after changing the decal we use now. Staff has purchased a printer and decal stock that will allow them to print a licensee’s number on the sticker, then mail it to anyone requesting a boat ID tag. The “efficiency and streamlined process” such automation would provide is the reason for the change.
The board itself had little to say about this change, since Dept. of Labor and Industry (DLI) regulations dictate that all board “forms” originate with the department, not the board, and that such boat stickers were deemed “forms”.
FOAM commented on the board’s inability to intervene in this sticker process as well as suggesting that the current stickers – longer and with more space available for a licensee to add a 5-digit number themselves – were working well and needed no improvement, particularly since no warden had complained about seeing the sticker numbers. We also noted that we believed whatever font-size the printer used would not be big enough to make the license # visible at a distance as well as a hand-written number.
Unfortunately, board staff noted that the “deal was done” and board intervention by opposing the rule to adopt the specific printing of stickers instead of licensees writing in their own number would make no difference. After several attempts to send a signal to staff via votes against the rule, the board eventually voted unanimously to approve the rule allowing printed stickers instead of hand-written numbers on decals.
– 24.171.502 – Outfitter Qualifications – this amendment to rule noted that a “licensed guide or equivalent experience” in another state was acceptable for both fishing and hunting outfitter license experience qualifications.
– 24.171.504 – Successorship – the rule proposal simplified the application for successorship after the death of an outfitter, removed any fee associated with the process, and extended the time available for a successor to report to the board.
-24.171.505 – Fishing Outfitter Operations Plan – a clarification proposed by FOAM that distinguished between “all surface waters governed by the Montana Stream Access Law (MSAL) and accessible by public points not requiring a permit restricting commercial use.” The point is simple: We wanted to clarify the distinction between state or federal permits that do or do not restrict commercial use when using the MSAL. For example, an outfitter could list in their op plan all public access points under that MSAL that don’t require a restrictive permit and simultaneously list those waters with access points subject to a permit restricting commercial use. The board agreed unanimously.
– 24.171.520 – Operations Plans and Amendments – the proposal removed the requirement to list the contact information for the owner or agent for private property where the outfitter is authorized to operate.
The board agreed unanimously.
– 24.171.2101 – Renewals – added that all outfitters must “attest that all lands information required as part of an operations plan on file with the board is current and accurate” as required by a previously adopted rule and removing from rule a requirement that hunting outfitters submit “statistical use level sheets”. Fishing outfitters have not been required to submit stat sheets for several years. The board voted 6 – 0 for this rule change.
Insurance Cost for Gear Coverage Reduced for 2018
Art Hoffart, lead agent for the Bissell Agency which provides our liability insurance coverage, wrote FOAM recently to announce that the cost of insurance coverage for our personal gear – boats, trailers, oars, coolers, rods, reels, flies, etc. – will be reduced from $14.50 / $1000 of value to $10 / $1000 of value. The change will be effective after 1/1/18.
So, you can get cheaper gear coverage if you renew or start a policy after Jan. 1, 2018. Call the Bissell Agency at 406.586.6230 late this year for more details.
Art also reminded us that he’s always seeking lower rates or better coverage for all our insurance needs.
Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Project
FOAM has been asked to endorse this BCSP project, a one-of-a-kind collaboration between the timber industry, conservationists, outfitters and guides, and snowmobilers. The idea has been backed by three affected counties: Powell, Lewis and Clark, and Missoula and several professional organizations and associations.
The Montana Wildlife Federation notes that “this piece of legislation brought by Senator Tester is an example of how collaboration truly works on the landscape. More than 10 years in the making, this BCSP is a agreement between a variety of different stakeholders including the timber industry, sportsmen’s organizations, recreational users, and conservation organizations. As far as fisheries go, this project would help to protect very important streams like the North Fork Blackfoot River, Monture Creek, and West Fork of the Clearwater River that are essential for our native Bull Trout and Westslope Cutthroats.”
If you have any comments, please send them to your regional director. Check the bottom of this newsletter for FOAM directors and their regions.
NOTE: The FOAM regions have been rearranged after our recent constitutional amendment blending our previous regions 1 & 2 into a new region 1 and renumbering all other regions accordingly. Upcoming paper and online renewal forms will show this new arrangements, too.
Our Industry Loses a Great Guide – Tim Mosolf of Dillon
Tim was born Jan. 25, 1947, in Carmel, CA, to George and Bess Mosolf. He graduated fromCarmel High School, where he played football. He later studied at Monterey Peninsula College. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966 to 1972, based out of Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, and finally in Japan.
He visited Montana often as a child, and as a young adult he made his home in Dillon, where he began his guiding career.
He married Delores Wallace in 1980, and they had two children together, Jesse and Christina Mosolf. Although Tim was a local treasure and a celebrated fishing guide, he was most proud of being a loving father to his two children who will never forget all he did for them. He was also beloved and valued by his extended family, always keeping everyone informed on what others in the family were doing. Tim’s easy-going personality and large beard earned him multiple nicknames and many knew him only as Mo, Mr. Mo, Razzmo, and Ho-Ho.
Mo was part of an early group of fishing guides that helped make the “Beaverditch” a famed fishery and vital economic asset to the region. He was a longtime independently contracted fishing guide in southwest Montana, contributing his knowledge and love of fly fishing to several generations of anglers and guides on his beloved Beaverhead River. Mo was proud to count President Jimmy Carter, John Denver and Ted Turner among the hundreds of diverse types of “dudes” he took fishing, and many of his clients inevitably became longtime friends. His clients often seemed to value his larger-than-life personality and jovial nature more than his technical fishing skills. Mo’s fishing exploits were documented in various publications, including the book Castwork, and he was featured prominently in a Simms advertising campaign.
In addition to guiding, Mo worked as a conservation technician for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks from 1982 to 2007. He often joked it was necessary to shock the fish in the river so he knew where to take the “dudes” in the summer. Tim also fished commercially in Alaska early in his career to “pay the bills.”
Mo spoke a little Japanese and Spanish, played the banjo, whispered trout, enjoyed pranks, golf, photography, writing letters, and mowing the “lawn,” but he most treasured spending time with his kids, especially on the river.
He is survived by: his son, Jesse Mosolf, Ph.D., and daughter-in-law Kristina Okonski, Ph.D. of Butte; daughter Christina Mosolf and grandson Anthony, of Salt Lake City, UT; brother, Mike Mosolf and Diane, of Dillon; sister, Susie Sory, of Carmel Valley, CA; brother Terry Mosolf, of Aptos, CA; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Tim was preceded in death by: his parents; his sister, Pat Mosolf-Stevens, and her husband, Jack Stevens; and brother-in-law Melvin Sory.
The family appreciates the kind words from all, and remembering that “You go slow, you go some Mo” they invite friends to gather with them in support and to share stories of times with Tim at a riverside memorial at Barrett’s Station Park, on July 1, 2017, starting at 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions to help with a riverside memorial can be securely brought or mailed to: The Bank of Commerce, 110 South Idaho St. Dillon, MT 59725 for the Memorial Fund for Tim Mosolf.
FOAM wishes Tim well with his new adventure, casting to those memories we all share about fishing in Montana.