FWP hosts Fishing Without Barriers day


KALISPELL, Mont. - More than 60 people with disabilities had the opportunity to cruise Flathead Lake Thursday.

For some people, enjoying a day on the lake is nothing out of the ordinary -- but not for everyone. That's where Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' Fishing Without Barriers event comes in.

Jerry Howard is the chairman of the Crossing the Barriers Committee, a program run by Fish, Wildlife and Parks that helps people with disabilities enjoy outdoor activities.

Howard says he got involved because he has a nephew with Down syndrome, and wanted to give him the chance to enjoy Montana's beauty.

"See the smiles on their faces and it makes a great day.  And if they aren't smiling, I got to go home and figure out what happened today," said Howard.

Many volunteers also help out.

Bob Syvrud offered his boat for the day. He's been involved with the event for 4 years, and says he loves coming back every year.

"Since we have a pontoon boat we were able to take three people in wheelchairs and we cruised around Woods Bay and looked at the beautiful homes and the businesses. The water was a little choppy in the big lake so we came back in here and we enjoyed the morning very much," Syvrud said.

The event has been going on for 21 years and everyone we spoke with told us they hope to see many more.

"Folks that rarely have an opportunity to be on this gorgeous lake can be there and we can help them get on the lake, so it's not complicated. That's why we come," said Syvrud.

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