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Boating is back at St. Mary and Two Medicine lakes

AIS stations opened July 20
GNP AIS station sign
St. Mary Lake and Two Medicine Lake
Posted at 11:05 AM, Jul 27, 2023

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK — Boating is back at St. Mary and Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park. On July 20, 2023, aquatic invasive species inspection stations for the two lakes opened in the park for the first time since 2019.

Boating is back at St. Mary and Two Medicine lakes

"As soon as they get through the gate, they're directed here," Blackfeet AIS Coordinator DeNeill Trombley said, explaining how the inspection stations work.

When you enter Glacier National Park through the entrance near Saint Mary Visitor Center, you can't miss the aquatic invasive species inspection station on the right side of the road.

"They'll pull up," Trombley said.

Anyone bringing in a boat through the entrance has to stop there and answer some questions from inspectors.

Trombley said kayaks are the most common type of boat people bring in.

"(The inspectors will) ask them if they're camping. They have to present their day passes that they buy online. If the kayak or anything's dirty, they have the water supply here. They will go and spray it down," Trombley explained.

St. Mary Lake and Two Medicine Lake

If you're bringing in a motorized boat, it has to be cleared by inspectors and then not be used for 30 days before it can be used in the park.

Trombley is glad to be able to bring boating back, but still worries about zebra and quagga muscles, which are partly the reason boating was discontinued on the two lakes in 2019 and why motorized boating hasn't been allowed on St. Mary Lake since 2016.

COVID and a lack of staff are also reasons boating is just now coming back.

"The zebra and quagga muscles moving this way, they're in the Dakotas, and then just the danger of it. We love our waters. It's what makes the reservation, Glacier Park, beautiful."

According to the U.S. Geological Survey zebra muscles cause many problems, including filtering out algae native species need for food.

Quagga muscles have a similar impact and also store organic pollutants that are eventually released, potentially exposing wildlife to the pollutants.

"These types of stations are set up so none of those invasive species are able to catch a ride on any type of watercraft," said Gina Icenoggle, Glacier National Park Public Information Officer.

Icenoggle said the park is excited to help bring boating back.

"This is a perfect example of where we can partner with the tribe to be able to help protect the resources in Glacier National Park and look to the tribe for their expertise, for their stewardship, as well," said Icenoggle.

She also pointed out that, because the park is the headwaters of three watersheds that flow into the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and the Hudson Bay, an invasive species in the parks' waters could infect the entire continent.

For more information about the AIS stations or boating, click here.



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