WEST GLACIER, Mont. [July 17, 2023] – In partnership with the Blackfeet Tribe, Glacier National Park announces that Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) inspection stations will open on July 20, 2023, to provide boating opportunities on Two Medicine and St. Mary Lakes in Glacier National Park for the first time since 2019.

The tribe and the park have entered into a contractual agreement for the AIS stations to be operated by tribal inspectors. Motorized boat inspections from Montana State, Whitefish Lake, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Blackfeet Tribe, and Waterton Lakes National Park are accepted but a 30-day quarantine of motorized boats before use in park waters continues to be required. Non-motorized watercrafts must obtain an inspection upon each entry to the park.
St. Mary and Two Medicine lakes have been closed to boating since the end of the 2019 season due to COVID and lingering staffing challenges. In 2021 and 2022, the park attempted to operate the stations and were unsuccessful in recruiting enough staff to work at all locations. Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Tribe began
discussions in 2022 to negotiate the use of tribal inspectors.
“Glacier National Park is pleased to enter into this agreement with the Blackfeet Nation to provide quality inspections for the protection of these lakes so that we can open them to boating after a four-year hiatus,” said Dave Roemer. “This is a good step towards our co-stewardship goals with the tribe.”
This will be the first season motorized boating will be allowed on St. Mary Lake since mussels were detected in Montana in 2016.
St. Mary, Two Medicine and Lake McDonald are the only lakes in Glacier National Park that allow motorized boating, except for Bowman Lake that allows less than 10 horsepower, non-water-cooled motors.
All watercraft launched within Glacier National Park must be inspected for AIS prior to launching. St. Mary and Two Medicine AIS inspection stations will operate 7 am – 5 pm, seven days a week. The St. Mary AIS station is located at the St. Mary Visitor Center. The Two Medicine AIS station is located just prior to the park entrance.
AIS inspections are required for protection against non-native species that can devastate native aquatic ecosystems, as well as negatively change visitor use and enjoyment of park waterways. AIS can come in many forms, including animals such as zebra and quagga mussels, plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil, or pathogens such as whirling disease. These species can hitch a ride on any equipment including motorized and non- motorized watercraft such as float tubes, kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and trailers.

Waters from Glacier's extensive system of lakes, rivers and streams are the headwaters of three major watersheds that reach the Columbia River System and the Pacific Ocean; the Missouri River and the Atlantic Ocean via the Gulf of Mexico; and the South Saskatchewan River and Hudson Bay. It is critical that these headwaters are protected to prevent the spread of invasive species throughout the continent.

For more details, including location and hours of operation for all AIS stations in the park, please visit the park boating webpage.

More From K96 FM