Help Stop Aquatic Invasive Species

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


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 Permit Regulations

Non-motorized, non-trailered watercraft are permitted on Glacier National Park waters with in-person inspection by National Park Service boat inspectors. Permits are free. Learn more about park water regulations on the Boating page.

Inspection Standards

  • Motorized or trailered watercraft will be prohibited from launching.*
    Privately owned motorized and trailered watercraft brought into the park will be allowed to launch on Lake McDonald only following an inspection and 30 day quarantine. Please call 406-888-7859 to schedule an appointment for motorboat inspection and sealing. For more informaton visit our Press Release dated August 2, 2017.
  • All non-motorized watercraft will be inspected, including but not limited to canoes, kayaks, row boats, sail boats, paddleboards, float tubes, inner tubes, and wind surfboards.
  • Small, low grade inflatable children’s water toys including water wings, rings, and the like will not require a permit.
  • All watercraft must be CLEAN, DRAINED, and DRY upon arrival to receive a launch permit.
  • Watercraft must be accessible for inspection: uninflated rafts or float tubes, watercraft with internal water holding tanks, wash systems, etc. will be denied a launch permit.
  • New, unused inflatable watercraft will not require an inspection; however they will require a permit before launching.
  • An inspection will be required upon each entry to the park if intending to launch. Visitors staying overnight in the park will not need a daily inspection.
  • When inspection stations close for the 2017 season, the lakes will also close to boating for the winter.

Inspection Locations

Apgar Backcountry Permit Center, in parking lot across the street
May 15 – May 31
8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Adjacent to the Apgar Public Boat Ramp
June 1 – October 31
8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Boaters traveling to the North Fork region should visit the Lake McDonald inspection station for a launch permit. After successful inspection, they should proceed directly to their North Fork launch destination. North Fork residents should contact the Polebridge Ranger Station for alternate inspection procedures.

Two Medicine Ranger Station
June 1 – September 29
7:00 am to 4:30 pm

St. Mary Visitor Center
June 1 – October 13
7:00 am to 4:30 pm

Many Glacier Ranger Station
June 1 – September 29
7:00 am to 4:30 pm

Glacier National Park only provides boat inspections and permits for boaters launching on park waters. Inspections and launch permits for Blackfeet tribal waters are available on U.S. Hwy 2 between East Glacier and Browning and at Chewing Black Bones Campground, just north of St. Mary MT.

*Privately owned motorized and trailered watercraft will continue to be restricted, following the detection of aquatic invasive mussels within the State of Montana announced in November of 2016. The park will continue to assess the inspection program and aquatic invasive species threat throughout the summer and may make adjustments in hours and scope of the permitting process, and areas where boats are permitted, depending on funding and as new information emerges.

Waterton Lakes National Park Permit Regulations

  • Parks Canada is protecting Waterton Lakes National Park’s aquatic environment from invasive mussels by prohibiting the use of power boats and trailer-launched watercraft in the park as of March 2017.
  • A self-inspection permit is required to launch any human-powered and some wind-powered watercraft in Waterton Lakes National Park. This includes:
    • canoes
    • kayaks
    • paddle boards
    • kite boards
    • wind surfers
    • row boats
    • inflatable watercraft
  • 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.

Last updated: September 26, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936


(406) 888-7800

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