Help Stop Aquatic Invasive Species

park staff hosing off a kayak at the AIS permit station in Apgar
Park staff hosing off a kayak at the AIS permit station in Apgar


A boat propeller engulfed by quagga mussels. Help keep our waters free of aquatic invasive species.
A boat propeller engulfed by quagga mussels. Help keep our waters free of aquatic invasive species.


Changes in Aquatic Invasive Species boat inspections operating hours and locations:

  • Apgar: (Lake McDonald is the only water open to boating in the park) - Inspection station hours 8am-4pm Seven days/week
  • All watercraft must be cleaned thoroughly before coming to inspection station
  • Due to staffing cuts, you can expect some delays. We appreciate your patience.
  • Boaters will be expected to unload and clean their boats without help from NPS employees. Boaters will remove any personal items they store in the watercraft to prevent inspectors from having to touch people's personal items. Limited cleaning of boats may be possible, however any boats that need significant cleaning will be denied launch permits.
  • Physical distancing guidelines of 6 feet will be maintained.
  • Trailered watercraft with gas-powered motors are permitted on Lake McDonald after an inspection and after being quarantined for 30 days prior to launch. Boats will be sealed to the trailer after inspection and seals will be removed by park personnel following the 30-day drying time.
  • Non-motorized watercraft, and non-trailered electric motorized watercraft will be permitted after same day inspection by Glacier National Park AIS inspectors. These watercraft do not require sealing or a quarantine period.
  • Glacier National Park, State of Montana and other Montana certified inspection entity seals (CSKT, Blackfeet, Whitefish Lake, etc.) on motorized watercraft will be honored, pending verification of quarantine. Non-motorized and non-trailered electric motorized watercraft require inspection by Glacier National Park AIS inspectors prior to launch.
  • Motorized boaters wishing to re-launch on Lake McDonald must have their watercraft resealed upon take-out during regular inspection station hours.
  • All vessels with uninspectable water holding compartments are prohibited from launching in Glacier National Park
  • All open park waters (currently only Lake McDonald) will close on November 1.

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is dominated by large fjord-like glacial lakes. For many visitors they are a primary destination. Boating, fishing, or just plain hanging out on the shore and skipping rocks consume many a relaxing hour and are the stuff of magical memories. We need your help to keep it that way.

On the surface things look fine, but in the past stocking of non-native fish changed the ecosystems of most park lakes. These fish out compete native species for food and habitat. We need to prevent additional non-native species of animals or plants from accidentally being introduced, because each small change effects the overall health of park waters.

Use this field guide to help you identify AIS.

Don't Move a Mussel

Now there is a new and serious threat. Imagine a future where going to your favorite rock-skipping beach, you find the shoreline matted with tens of thousands of small mussel shells, with everything cemented together in a sharp, smelly mess. Imagine once productive fisheries wiped out by these new invaders. It's not science fiction, impacts are already occurring in waters in the Great Lakes, eastern provinces and states, the prairies and plains, and more recently in the Southwestern United States.

Since the 1980s freshwater zebra and quagga mussels have steadily advanced westward, transported on trailered boats. Very recently, a mussel-carrying boat was intercepted at a marina on Flathead Lake. The boat had come from the Southwest. Flathead Lake is just downstream from Glacier.

Protecting the waters of the Peace Park requires immediate action, both by the parks and by every boater.


Glacier National Park Watercraft Launch Regulations

*All watercraft (motorized and non-motorized) with unispectable water holding compartments are prohibited from launching in Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park will honor motorized watercraft inspections and seals from Montana State, Whitefish Lake, and Blackfeet Tribal Inspectors following a 30 day quarantine. Dated sealing documentation must be presented prior to launching. Non-motorized watercraft will only be issued launch permits after inspection by Glacier National Park inspectors.

Waterton Lakes National Park Permit Regulations

Currently, motorized and trailer-launched watercraft require a 90 day quarantine after inspection before launching on Waterton Lake. Non-motorized boats may self-certify prior to launching.

To obtain the permit you must complete a self-inspection form, which will act as a permit. Watercraft users must ensure their permits are available for examination. Self-inspection forms will be available at the park gate, Visitor Reception Centre, Operations Building and Wardens Office, campgrounds, and select locations in town. Permit stations will also be located throughout the park at boat launches and the most popular boating areas.

More information is available on the Waterton Lakes National Park Lakes Activities page.

Additional Aquatic Invasive Species Information

Last updated: October 5, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936


(406) 888-7800

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