Blog

In This Issue:

  • Board of Outfitters updates
  • License renewal and checklist
  • Annual Membership meeting plans
  • Executive Director retiring

 

Board of Outfitters Update

Matt Greemore appointed as new fishing outfitter representative
After the previous representative, Robin Cunningham, was not confirmed by the Senate during the 2017 legislative session, we’ve been waiting for Gov. Bullock to select a replacement fishing outfitter on the board. After nine months and two board meetings without representation, Matt Greemore (Twin Bridges) was appointed to the board just in time for the December MBO meeting in Helena.

Matt has been an outfitter running his own guiding business and the associated King’s Motel out of Twin for 21 years. Starting in 1998, He’s been on the FOAM board for several rounds of terms as a director repping the Big Hole, Beaverhead area and been elected chairman of our board twice. Matt served on the original Big Hole Citizen’s Advisory Committee working on the BH2 management rules, then spearheaded commercial adjustments during two subsequent rule reviews for both the Big Hole and Beav.

Thanks to the many FOAM members who sent the Governor notes of support for Matt as a good choice for the MBO. Your work finally paid off.

Other MBO Appointees
Julie French (Scobey) was appointed as the new public member. French served in the legislature during the 2007, 2009 sessions and was chair for the Upland Game bird Council for three years. Her family have enjoyed hunting and fishing for multiple generations and she’s a strong advocate for public access.

Kerry Fee (Livingston) took the open sportsperson seat on the board. Kerry was Executive Director for the Park County Environmental Council (PCEC) and a TU board member, acting as President for the Joe Brooks chapter for four years. As a private land owner, he understands the hunting outfitter issue of private land access. As past worker in the fishing outfitting industry, he knows how fishing outfitters value recording historical use on client logs.

FOAM welcomes the new board members with a big “Hey, Hi, Howdy!”

 

Outfitter and Guide 2018 License Renewal
For the last several years, increasing numbers of FOAM outfitters and guides have renewed their licenses online. The process is relatively simple, so long as you remember your eBiz login and password. If you’ve forgotten your login details, go to https://ebiz.mt.gov/pol/ and check the Renewal FAQ, instructions, and other helpful pointers.

Of course, client logs are still required to be submitted before 12/31. If you need blank client logs, check the MBO website for both fishing and hunting logs. There’s also a spreadsheet format that streamlines the info.

Here’s a brief step-by-step online renewal tutorial:
1) Once you’ve logged in, make sure you’re in the POL section – “Professional & Occupational Licensing” should be highlighted in blue.
2) Once in the POL section, you should see your ‘records’, probably including your op plan updates and a record of your license (OUT-OUT-LIC-XXX). To the RIGHT of that record, in the “action” column, look for a tiny link named ‘renew license’. Click it. Do NOT try the bold link named “RENEW / PRINT LICENSE” . . . for some reason, this doesn’t work too well.
3) Answer the Disciplinary question (Have any legal or disciplinary actions been instituted against you or any of your professional licenses since either your initial licensure in Montana or since you renewed your license, whichever occurred latest?)
4) Provide first aid info, insurance info. NOTE: the language for both first aid and insurance says you “may” send copies of a first aid cert and insurance cert via email or snailmail, or by using the amendment link below the “renew license”link where you started this process. Well, the amendment language says you “shall” submit both proof of current first aid and insurance coverage . . . so, to be safe, I recommend sending both first aid certification and insurance certification with your client logs. Last on this page, check whether or not you need watercraft ID’s sent to you, then click CONTINUE APPLICATION
5) Upload any documents (client logs, first aid certification, insurance certificate, etc.) using this page if you haven’t use the amendment link section to do so, then CONTINUE APPLICATION
6) Review the info you’ve entered and edit anything that needs correction, then CONTINUE APPLICATION
7) Review the fee you’ll be charged, then CONTINUE APPLICATION
8) Use the payment processor to pay, either by credit card or by echeck.
9) Review and print your license after payment.

If you’re anti-computer or simply old-school, try these paper renewal forms: outfitter or guide, and mail in your client logs and first aid & insurance certificates to MT Board of Outfitters, 301 S. Park Avenue, PO Box 200513, Helena MT 59620-0513.

Renewal Checklist – a basic reminder list
1) Prepare and submit your client logs, either on paper or via a spreadsheet.
2) Check the currency of your first aid certification and if it’s current, create a copy to send in.
3) Check your insurance certificate to see if it’s current. NOTE: if you have insurance in place until 12/31/17, you don’t need to supply a “current insurance” cert because your’s is active ’til the end of the year. But, to be safest, purchase insurance coverage for 2018 and submit the cert along with your FA cert or as soon as you can.
3) Renew your license, either on paper or online.
4) Pay your license fee.

Operations Plans
You may have already completed an update on your current Op Plan, but if you haven’t, do so using an Op Plan update form. Because staff is working on the Accela program relating to op plans, you cannot use the online system to update your plan.

 

Annual Meeting plans

The FOAM board has scheduled the spring FOAM annual membership meeting for Saturday, March 10 in Missoula. The venue details will be settled during the January board meeting.

As the urging of Josh Tapp, our guide-at-large director, the agenda is aiming at discussions and information useful for guides as well as outfitters. Such items as how to handle your business income with taxes in mind, a possible round table discussion of some very basic investments for biz proceeds, basics of guide legal and ethical educational topics, independent contractor do’s and don’ts for both guides and outfitters, and simple business relationship-building tips are some of the director’s suggestions. If you have any other guide-related items, let Josh know (406.552.7343, jtapp83@gmail.com).

Aquatic Invasives, complete insurance coverage and explanations, and perhaps a second look at the W. Fork of the B’root and B’root mainstem management system now in place – think “launches” replacing “floats” – may well be part of the agenda, too.

Stay tuned for more details and an e-Invite to the annual meeting to be sent out in mid- to late January.

 

Executive Director retiring
After serving as FOAM’s E.D. since 1991, Robin Cunningham is relinquishing the job to new hire Mike Bias from Twin Bridges.

Cunningham came on as an unpaid volunteer in early spring of 1991, taking on the general operations of FOAM including membership coordination, board assistance, general director of conservation, and lobbying. Over the years, he helped create our conservation 501(c)(3) group, the Montana Fishing Outfitters Conservation Fund, handling grants, project development and administration. During legislative sessions, independent contractor status was defended and refined, right along with statutes that favored quality regulatory directions for the growing fishing outfitter and guide industry. Eventually, the FOAM board recognized that the E.D. position warranted employed pay and voted in salaries for the director and Pat, Robin’s wife, as the Executive Secretary.

River recreation management and regulation came to the fore in 1998 with the demands for controls on the Big Hole and Beaverhead rivers, leading to our association involvement in the development of the BH2 river management planning process and eventual rulemaking. FWP’s handling of these rivers led to the need for a statewide river rec management planning process, and Robin was our lead representative with that group. He also was an advisor for the original Blackfoot river coordinating committee, working with BLM and FWP, and followed a similar path with the Madison river Citizen’s Advisory Committee a couple years back.

Moving FOAM’s membership signups slowly from paper to online forms, negotiating insurance rates, explaining the in’s and out’s of the outfitter board laws and regulations, and generally being available for member questions and concerns was a key component of the E.D. job that Cunningham shouldered. In fact, he’s often said, “That’s my job, and I enjoy it.”

“I can’t thank FOAM members enough for allowing me to help in all the ways requested (or demanded) over the years. I hope my efforts brought a coherence to our association and adequately expressed our interests, principles, and ethics to the public and our fellow outfitters and guides. Working together with a variety of board members and the membership, out association has encouraged realistic industry guidelines and basic conservation principles that will serve our business needs while preserving the resources that allows us to make our living. It’s been a great ride! I’ve enjoyed all the members I’ve met and helped over these years. I couldn’t think of a better group of guys and gals to work with and for.” – Robin Cunningham

Mike Bias
With a strong conservation background developed while working with such various groups as Ducks Unlimited, the Center for Wildlands Ecology, and the Big Hole River Foundation, Mike brings a wealth of both administration and coordination expertise to the FOAM E.D. job. Some of you may remember Mike’s entymology presentations at several recent FOAM annual meetings, too.

He’s been a guide, moved up to fishing outfitter, and runs his own outfitting business out of Twin Bridges while helping other local outfitters on duck-hunting trips with his labrador, Goose.

The FOAM board is confident Mike will handle all the E.D. responsibilities ably and competently. FOAM members should look forward to a seamless transition for our new Executive Director.

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