April 17, 2017
Superintendent: Ifan Thomas
Waterton Lakes National Park.
Dear Mr. Thomas
The following letter has been sent to Superintendent Mow in Glacier National Park. I have added some text specific to Waterton. It is my understanding that you are working together to ensure the protection of our waters.
I am writing with regards to the closure of the lakes in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta and Glacier National Park in Montana to motorized watercraft. My family has spent the past 50 years on the waters of Lake Macdonald as part of our annual vacation and have enjoyed and respected the use of the Park over those years. We also have an 80 year history in Waterton Lakes National Park with a family cottage and continue to keep our boat on that lake as well.
I have educated myself on the dangers of “invasive species” and understand the impact they pose on the environment. I have also taken the time to learn about what other areas are doing to minimize the possibility of contamination specifically with regards to recreational boating. I would put forward the following immediate suggestions that could be put in place to continue to allow the use of our federal lands for the benefit of all for the current year as well as in the future.
Whitefish Lake Institute has initiated the most comprehensive invasive species prevention program I have found to this point. Along the with the standard inspection stations they have purchased an “industry standard” decontamination unit that addresses the urgent and critical nature of the problem. The decontaminator will pressure wash a watercraft and/or obtain water temperatures in interior compartments such as ballast tanks to kill the microscopic life stage of zebra mussels thus eliminating any possibility of contamination to the lakes. They will be sealing the watercraft and issuing a certificate of inspection and decontamination. This includes exit seals so that the user will not have to go through the inspection process again if they will relaunch in the same lakes. Whitefish Lake will also be honoring watercraft seals from the State of Montana that will result in much reduced inspection on those boats as well. They are also implementing a sticker program for non motorized hand launched watercraft upon completion of an on-line module. In addition to this they have an intensive public education program as well. In a letter to me from Mr. Mike Koopal of the institute he stated that the unit will be located at a local Marine shop and would be available to the public based on priority given to those using Whitefish Lake. I have suggested a user fee be instituted for other boats that might want to use other lakes. In consultation with other boaters in Alberta we would be willing to fund the same kind of decontamination unit to be set up either in Cardston or Pincher Creek to facilitate Waterton boaters provided the Park is open to motorized watercraft. This will provide protection for both Parks. The unit is mobile and can moved to various locations as determined by need.
There are the usual drain, dry, and clean components of boat management as well and I just recently returned from Roosevelt dam in Arizona where they have implemented heavy fines and even looked at impounding watercraft that violate their very strict regulations. Keeping the boat completely dry for 7 days also destroys contamination if done properly.
What I have proposed eliminates the possibility of contamination and is available immediately. I am sure others may have some input and together I see no reason that we need to close these waters to the enjoyment of the public. We can work together to make sure these activities are safe.
I would appreciate your consideration in this matter as it is a very important issue for many people that have a tradition of boating in the parks. I would be willing to spend as much time as necessary to help with the implementation of a joint effort between the private and public entities involved.
Public Land Alliance