Upper Gallatin River Access Restoration Projects


The Upper Gallatin is a world-class river, loved by all who value outdoor experiences. Where it flows through the Custer Gallatin National Forest, the river is easily accessible to outdoor enthusiasts including anglers and boaters. This combination has brought about increased use, which threatens the river’s health by eroding streambanks and trampling streamside vegetation. In 2015, the Task Force spearheaded the Gallatin Canyon River Access Site Assessment which examined 39.6 miles of the Gallatin River and mapped 111 public river access sites between the Yellowstone National Park boundary and Spanish Creek to prioritize sites for future restoration work. The Gallatin River Task Force in partnership with the Custer Gallatin National Forest has put together an ambitious plan to improve public access sites with the goal of repairing those damaged locations.

Creating and maintaining proper river access points for the Gallatin River is critical. River use is skyrocketing and access points will serve as an important medium for preserving this incredible watershed. Without preservation investments along the Gallatin River, I feel that the region’s growth will outpace the river’s ability to serve and irreversible damage will occur.

Eric Ladd

CEO, Outlaw Partners, L & K Real Estate, and Boundary Expeditions

Moose Creek Flat Recreation Area

The first Upper Gallatin River Access Restoration Project broke ground in fall 2017 at the Moose Creek Recreation Area, a heavily trafficked public day-use area and campground with severe erosion and streamside vegetation damage.

The project installed:

  • 145 ft. of streambank stabilization using bioengineering (vegetation and natural materials) techniques
  • 10,939 sq. ft. of floodplain vegetation plantings, including willow cuttings along the channel margin
  • 1,000 ft of trails
  • One boat ramp
  • One terraced kayak launch to repair an old bridge abutment
  • 1,460 ft. of riparian fencing
  • Three educational interpretive signs focusing on river ecology, recreation etiquette, and aquatic invasive species

Design Plans

Upper Deer Creek (Beatis Alley) Recreation Area

The Upper Deer Creek Riparian Habitat and Access Restoration project will be the second large-scale restoration project to restore the ecological health of the river, sustain fisheries and water insect species diversity, and improve ease and safety of river access along the Upper Gallatin Corridor. Construction will begin late August 2020. Project activities include enhancing riparian buffers, capturing run-off of fine-sediment from the parking area and other pathways, improving the trail system, and developing an accessible fishing access point, which is lacking along the entire Upper Gallatin corridor. Interpretative signage will be installed to educate the public about the importance of healthy riparian areas and how individuals can minimize their impact on riparian areas.

Design Plans