A 15-foot swath of ice with blocks as big as 4 feet pushed flood waters a foot higher than the record year of 2011 at the James Kipp Recreation Area earlier this month, delaying the opening of the boat launch to May 1, closing the campground and damaging vault toilets.
The facility is located along Highway 191 where it crosses the Missouri River at the Fred Robinson Bridge, about 20 miles north of Bohemian Corner.
Similar damage can be found at facilities along the Upper Missouri River caused by ice floes that broke loose March 9-15.
The Fort Benton Boat Launch was the exception. It is open and there was no damage, but the boat dock will not be placed into the water until conditions stabilize.
Wood Bottom Recreation Area in Loma is closed until further notice because of ice on the boat launch. At Coal Banks Landing Recreation Area in Virgelle the campground is open, but the boat launch is closed. Judith Landing Recreation Area's campground is closed until May 15. The boat launch is closed until ice is cleared.
With significant snow accumulation yet to melt in the Upper Missouri River drainage, more flooding may occur this spring. Anyone planning activities in the area should get up-to-date information prior to departure by contacting Mark Schaefer, at the BLM Fort Benton River Management Station, at 406-622-4000 or 406-622-4015.
Current river flow information can be found on the U.S. Geological Survey website at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/mt/nwis/current?type=flow
The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument covers about 375,000 acres of BLM-administered public land in central Montana. The 149-mile Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River flows through the monument.