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Glacier Park Closes Waterways To Protect Against Invasive Species

photo from GNP
Glacier Park Detection Dog

Glacier National Park has issued an interim closure of all park waters to protect against the possible spread of invasive mussel populations recently found in central Montana.

Management Assistant Lauren Alley said the announcement on Wednesday was a reaction to a report that an invasive mussel species had been found in some Montana waterways, and the interim closure is part of a plan that originated in 2014.

“The park has a plan in place that says if invasive mussels are detected in other places within the state, we’ll issue an immediate interim closure of all waterways for boating,” Alley said. “Boats come to Glacier from all parts of the state and country and even up into Canada. We see this as a threat that we need to take very seriously. Those boats in those waterways could make their way up to Glacier and we need to insure that we have protocols in place to make sure that none of those affected boats get into the park.”

Alley said all waterways in the park are tested for invasive species each August.

“We test in August, because the waters are very warm, which is a good time to test for those mussels,” she said. “If they were in there, they would be reproducing at that time. We found no evidence of any invasive species this summer, but we will do some additional testing as part of this interim closure.”

Alley would not commit to a definite date when the park’s waterways would reopen to boaters and canoeists.

“We’ll do our testing and determine what that timeline will look like as we look at that threat and see what steps we can take to prevent this from happening in the park,” she said.

Glacier National Park sits atop three continental scale watersheds. Water from the park drains into the Columbia, Missouri and South Saskatchewan Basins.

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