Smith River State Park

Current conditions at Smith River State Park. Image courtesy of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. 

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana park officials are opening one of the state's most popular rivers to rafters and other boaters after a two-week delay due to excessive ice and snow.

Montana State Parks said Monday that the Smith River is now free of floating ice hazards that had delayed its scheduled April 1 opening due to safety concerns.

Park officials say some campsites remain closed.

Permits issued through an annual lottery are required to float a 59-mile stretch of the river southeast of Great Falls. It's a blue-ribbon trout fishery set in a remote and picturesque limestone canyon that takes three to four days to float.

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