News Release

Operation Hours for Kettle Falls Portage Established

zebra mussel shell

USGS/Amy Benson

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News Release Date: May 9, 2022

Contact: Tawnya Schoewe

Contact: Brian harmon

INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN: Based upon current staffing the National Park Service and the Kettle Falls concession staff will operate the Kettle Falls portage seven days a week from 7:30 am until dark. This will include the new aquatic invasive species (AIS) decontamination process for vessels being portaged from Rainy Lake to Namakan Lake. Boaters wanting to portage are reminded there may be delays given that vessel decontamination can take 30 – 45 minutes. If staffing levels change through the summer this may cause the hours of portage operation to be reduced. Further press releases will announce any changes.The Kettle Falls concession was planning on opening on May 13. Given the current lake conditions opening may be delayed. For further information on operations contact (218) 875-2070. Once the hotel opens calls should be directed to (218) 240-1724 or 1726. Additionally, flood conditions may greatly modify or cause the closure of portage and AIS decontamination operations.Changes in portage operations, requiring AIS decontamination, is in response to the discovery of zebra mussel veligers (larvae) in Black Bay of Rainy Lake. Voyageurs National Park management now requires all vessels, regardless of size, crossing the Kettle Falls Portage from Rainy to Namakan Lake be decontaminated by trained staff. In addition, transporting vessels at Gold Portage will be allowed from Kabetogama Lake to Black Bay of Rainy Lake only.  What Can Visitors Expect at Kettle Falls: When crossing from Rainy Lake to Namakan Lake: 
  • Boaters will be required to drain bait containers, live wells, ballast tanks, bilge areas, and any other water holds on vessels and equipment. 
  • Be prepared to transport caught fish on ice from one lake to another. 
  • Have a plan to maintain bait once bait containers are drained. 
  • Trained staff will decontaminate all boats (including canoes and kayaks) with a washer using water heated to 140° F.  
  When crossing from Namakan Lake to Rainy Lake: 
  • Boaters will be required to drain bait containers, live wells, ballast tanks, bilge areas, and any other water holds on vessels and equipment. 
  • Be prepared to transport caught fish on ice from one lake to another. 
  • Have a plan to maintain bait once bait containers are drained. 
 Portaging across the Kettle Falls Portage from Rainy to Namakan Lake without decontamination or portaging from Rainy Lake to Kabetogama Lake via Gold Portage is a violation of the law. The violation is a Class B Misdemeanor and violators will be subject to enforcement action with penalties of up to 6 months imprisonment and/or a $5000 fine for each offence. These operational changes are being implemented to minimize the risk of human activities further transporting zebra mussels upstream within the Rainy Lake Watershed. It is recognized that zebra mussels can significantly harm aquatic ecosystems by reducing the health and populations of native fish and native mussels, cause considerable economic loss resulting from clogged water intake systems, fouled boat motors, and reduce waterfront property values.   To find out more about zebra mussels go to https://www.nps.gov/voya/learn/nature/aquatic-invasive-species.htm



Last updated: May 9, 2022

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Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
360 Hwy 11 East

International Falls , MN 56649

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(218)-283-6600

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