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Being able to put a boat in the river at a moment’s notice is one of the great attractions of owning riverfront property in Montana. But boat ramps, as with all riverside developments, can cause damage to the river by increasing sedimentation, hardening natural banks, and impacting water quality. Boat ramps can require some rip-rap to protect them from erosion. Some conservation districts have begun restricting and/or discouraging construction of additional boat ramps.


  • Is it necessary for you to build a new boat ramp?
  • Are there public boat ramps nearby?
  • Can you share with your neighbors?
  • Every house having its own boat ramp will add up to diminished fisheries, reduced water quality, and impaired river function.

Every boat ramp or dock also must have approved permits in place prior to beginning work.

Some rivers in Montana have seen rapid growth in the number of private boat ramps. On the Missouri River, between Great Falls and Ulm, a 2012 Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks survey counted 75 private boat ramps compared to 7 public ramps. The study concluded that building additional boat ramps is not necessary and may impact the recreational fisheries that are such an important part of our economy.

Make sure to check to see what, if any, permits you may need.  Potential Permits Required | Living on the Bank

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