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Will Montana Ban Felt Soles in 2012?

Posted on January 10 2011

A bill which aims to ban the use of felt soles has been drafted but not yet introduced in the Montana State Legislature.
In a phone interview with MidCurrent, Dave Kumlien, who serves as Trout Unlimited’s Invasive Species Specialist, said that he believed that “there are some amendments which have been suggested by Montana Trout Unlimited which will need to be worked out before the draft bill is formally introduced.” (You can see the draft bill here.) Kumlien says that once introduced, a bill banning felt soles has a good chance of passing.
Included in those suggestions are a new timeline for implementation. In its current form, the bill would take effect on October 1, 2012.
Montana would be the latest of several states to propose restricting the use of felt soled waders and wading boots since an “eliminate the use of felt soles” policy was announced at the 2007 national Trout Unlimited meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. Up until that time, many states were in the dark about the risks associated with felt soles.
Since that time, Kumlien said that he has been pleased with the response by the angling community, who has taken a more proactive stance towards preventing the spread of invasive species.
Like all new policies, the “eliminate felt” policy has also had its share of nay-sayers, which Kumlein welcomes. “At least the nay-sayers and complainers are thinking about the issue. Five years ago, this wasn’t even on their radar.”
Kumlien is an active member of the Madison-Gallatin Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and in 2001, was selected as Conservationist of the Year by Outdoor Life Magazine for his work with the Whirling Disease Foundation.

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