Park waters open to boats starting Saturday

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Kayakers head out on Lake McDonald for a winter excursion in this file photo.

Glacier National Park will start allowing boats on its waters May 12, though like last year, they値l have to go through an inspection before launching. The inspections will start first at Apgar, then move closer to Lake McDonald on the west side. On the east side, inspections start June 1.

This year, the Park is easing some restrictions on motorized boats. Non-trailered boats with electric trolling motors may launch on Lake McDonald, Bowman, Two Medicine, St. Mary, and Swiftcurrent lakes after an inspection. They will not require a 30-day dry time because the motors are not water-cooled and therefore are classified as lower risk, similar to hand-propelled water-craft, the Park said in a release.

Gas powered motorized watercraft will be permitted on Lake McDonald this year following a 30-day 電ry time. Lake McDonald is the only lake in the park where gas-powered motorized watercraft will be permitted to launch. Motorized boats will be sealed to their trailers after inspection, and seals will then be removed by park personnel following the 30-day 電ry time prior to launch. Montana State, Blackfeet Nation, Confederated Salish-Kootenai, and Whitefish Lake inspection seals will be honored in Glacier after a 30-day 電ry time.

All other boats must go through a standard inspection prior to launching. Last year, the Park inspected 13,000 craft. Boaters are asked to plan ahead and make sure their craft are cleaned, drained and dry before arriving in the Park. It helps speed up the inspection process. The Park did not detect any mussels last year, but it did note that many craft were dirty and they may have had other invasive species.

Hand propelled inspections are good for the duration of a visit. Motorized watercraft should be resealed upon exiting the lake for the day.

Boaters do have another option they can rent a motorboat from the park concessions.

The Park notes it is illegal to launch a boat without an inspection and violators could be ticketed. West side craft will only be inspected at Lake McDonald. There will be no inspection stations in the North Fork.

The following is inspection times and dates:

Lake McDonald*

May 12 May 26

7:00 a.m. 4:30 p.m.

Parking lot across the street from the Apgar boat ramp

*Offers motorized boat inspections and seals

Beginning May 27:

7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (station closure times will adjust as summer daylight wanes)

Parking lot across the street from the Apgar boat ramp

North Fork Area

There are no inspection stations located in the North Fork region. Boaters traveling to the North Fork should visit the Lake McDonald inspection station prior to launch. North Fork residents should contact the Polebridge Ranger Station for possible alternate inspection procedures.

Two Medicine beginning June 1

7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Two Medicine Ranger Station

St. Mary beginning June 1

7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

St. Mary Visitor Center

Many Glacier beginning June 1

7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Many Glacier Ranger Station

For complete rules and regulations about boating, visit the park痴 web page at:

http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/boating.htm

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