Public access to NorthWestern Energy’s property at Hauser Dam outside Helena will be controlled to primarily daylight hours beginning November 1st.
The change in public access is to curb illegal activities occurring in the area at night, including underage drinking, drug use, vandalism and litter.
Beginning Nov. 1, an automated gate located on the Hauser Dam Road just north of the Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks Black Sandy State Park day use site will close at 8 p.m. and reopen at 5 5 a.m. daily through the end of March.
From April through the end of October, the gate will close at 10 p.m. Users will still be able to exit the area after these designated hours.
In a news release Northwestern Energy's Hydro-power License Compliance Manager Andy Welch says, “We’ve tracked the timing and use of the area and used that data to set the hours to maximize public access. The designated hours will support the majority of recreational use at the site. They limit access at night, when most of the illegal activity has been observed in the area.”
“The Lewis and Clark County Sherriff’s Office supports this decision,” said Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton. “It is disappointing that this action must be taken, but it is necessary for the safety and welfare of law-abiding citizens using the area.”