Glacier National Park Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Program
Contact: Ellen Blickhan, 406 888-5838
Contact: Brian McKeon, 406 888-7976
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – This summer Glacier National Park will step up its boat inspection and permit program due to the rapid westward migration of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) on recreational watercraft. The consequences of an AIS infestation in park waters could be devastating to ecosystems and the local economy. Visitors can still launch most motorized and trailered watercraft in the park, however, a thorough boat inspection is required upon every entry to the park. Hand-propelled watercraft are not required to obtain a permit, though park managers encourage all boaters to thoroughly clean, drain, and dry their watercraft and/or fishing equipment before coming to the park.
During the summer of 2010, plankton samples collected from Flathead Lake contained organisms appearing similar to larvae of exotic zebra/quagga mussels. Further analyses determined these organisms to be a native plankton species. In February of 2011, a live quagga mussel was found on a sail boat prior to its launch on Flathead Lake. These incidents, as well as the recent discovery of mussels on two boats in Idaho, highlight the risk of unintentional introduction of AIS to area waters, including Glacier National Park, and represent a clear warning to park managers that the park's existing permit program was not adequate to protect park waters from potential AIS infestations. Following are the features of the 2011 inspection program:
Park managers realize that recreational boaters will face added time and inconvenience while recreating in Glacier National Park, however, the consequences of AIS species becoming established in park waters are dire for both aquatic ecosystems and recreational opportunities. Park officials urge all boaters to clean, drain, and dry their boats and boating equipment after every outing.
For rules and regulations on boating, please visit the park's web page,
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Did You Know?
If current trends continue, some scientists predict that by the year 2030, Glacier National Park will not contain any glaciers and many of the park's smaller glaciers will melt even sooner.