Glacier Inspects 1,300 Boats for Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)

Boat propeller with quagga mussels - NPS photo

“Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are aquatic and terrestrial organisms and plants that have been introduced into new ecosystems (i.e. Great Lakes, San Francisco Bay, Florida, Hawaii) throughout the United States and the world and are both harming the natural resources in these ecosystems and threatening the human use of these resources. AIS are also considered to be ‘nuisance’ species or ‘exotic’ species and the terms are often used interchangeably.” NOAA Research

from NPS Glacier National Park:

Glacier National Park personnel performed almost 1,300 boat inspections during this past summer intended to reduce the risk of unintentional movement of aquatic invasive species (AIS) into park waters.

New Zealand mud snails - Nature Conservancy photo

“We put a lot of energy and resources into this program, but realize this is just the beginning of a long-term effort to protect the pristine waters of Glacier National Park and the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem against the devastating effects of aquatic invasive species,” said Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright.

Glacier National Park contains the headwaters of three continental-scale watersheds. An infestation would pose a serious threat to all downstream waterways.

In 2010 the park initiated a boat inspection and permit program that required all motorized boats users to obtain a boat-launch permit prior to launching in any water body within the park. Inspections were only focused on boats believed to pose a high risk of transport of aquatic invasive species to park waters. The program also included an educational awareness component.

In May of this year, the park began an expanded boat inspection and permit program in response to an increasing threat of aquatic invasive species, which required an inspection and permit for all boaters. A free permit is required to launch any motorized or trailered watercraft in Glacier National Park. Hand-propelled water craft and personal flotation devices such as float tubes do not require a permit at this time. After an inspection of the watercraft indicates no signs of aquatic invasive species present, a launch permit will be issued. Boats must be clean, drained and thoroughly dry, including the bilge areas and livewells, upon inspection. A new permit is required upon each entry into the park.

From January to the beginning of October, 1,257 boats were inspected in the park. Six boats were denied launch permits for a variety of reasons, including that some that were not clean enough to properly inspect. No aquatic invasive species were found. The majority of the inspections were boats launching in Lake McDonald. Approximately 88% of the boats were registered from Montana with the remainder coming from 18 states and two Canadian Provinces.

Park visitors planning to launch a boat into any park waters throughout the winter are encouraged to call the park at 406-888-7801 to arrange for an inspection. Launching a boat without an inspection in Glacier National Park threatens park resources and is illegal, with a fine up to $500. Waterton Lakes National Park also has a boat inspection program.

Cartwright said, “Trailered boats with mussels attached to the boat and/or the trailer have been detected in Montana, as well as some aquatic invasive plants in local waters recently. This is a serious threat and we must be proactive to reduce any risk.”

Park managers and specialists recently met with Glen Canyon Recreation Area representatives to learn and share ideas on additional prevention measures, and to develop a response plan if something is detected in the area. Glacier National Park is also cooperating with other federal, state and local agencies and organizations, and Parks Canada to protect the lakes, rivers and streams of Montana.

Cartwright conveys his appreciation to park visitors for helping maintain the pristine waters in Glacier National Park by complying with the boat inspection and permit program.

See also:
Purple loosestrife - Nature Conservancy photo

Help Stop Aquatic Invasive Species for additional information about the NPS program and the AIS threat to the park.

Aquatic Invasive Species Threats to Glacier – NPS AIS “Resource Bulletin in PDF format that includes information about non-native species already in the park as well as “what’s on the way.” Primary threats include: Zebra mussels/quagga mussels, New Zealand mud snails, Eurasian watermilfoil and Purple loosestrife.

Glacier Park Volunteer Opportunities includes information about specific opportunities for volunteers, including work in the Aquatic Invasive Species program.

AIRD: Aquatic Invasions, Research Directory for AIS policy, programs and related information.

National Invasive Species Information Center for AIS resources in Montana. Click here for photographs of Nonindigenous Aquatic Species.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of three novels set in Glacier National Park, including the recently released contemporary fantasy “Sarabande” available on Kindle.

His nonfiction about Glacier Park includes “High Water in 1964” in A View Inside Glacier National Park: 100 Years 100 Stories (NPS-produced paperback) and Bears, Where They Fought: Life in Glacier Park’s Swiftcurrent Valley (99 cents on Kindle).

Piping Sewage into the Holy Land

from Women’s Earth Alliance:

Support the protection of a Northern Arizona holy mountain
Northern Arizona ski resort Arizona Snowbowl has begun the construction of a 14.8 mile pipeline that will trasnport up to 180 million gallons of treated sewage water from the City of Flagstaff to the ski area, for artificial snowmaking.Not only will the  proposed 10 million gallon wastewater pool harm the environment and public health (the treated sewage water has been proven to contain contaminants), but  it will destroy land that is holy to more than 13 Indigenous Nations.
The peaks are their place of worship, where deities reside, and where they go to collect medicine and herbs. Klee Benally, who was arrested on Saturday August 13 for disorderly conduct and trespassing, explains: “How can I be ‘trespassing’ on this site that is so sacred to me?  This is my church.  It is the Forest Service and Snowbowl who are violating human rights and religious freedom by desecrating this holy Mountain.” (Click on the link for the story “Direction Action To Save Holy Peaks Continues” in Indigenous Action Media.)

With just a few minutes, you can take meaningful action to protect the Peaks.  Call the USDA, which oversees the Forest Service, and let them know you support the preservation of this sacred mountain.

Take Action:

  1. TODAY: take 5 minutes to call Tom Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to urge the USDA to place an administrative hold on all development  of the SF Peaks. Phone: (202) 720-3632
  2. Contact Flagstaff City Officials and urge them to respect the environment, Indigenous culture, and protect public health by finding a way out of their
    contract to sell Snowbowl wastewater.  Phone: (928) 779-7699 Email:

This is the kind of post that I expect to see in “The Onion” or some other satirical newspaper or website. Unfortunately, this is one of those times we can get a bushel of industrial strength absurdity straight out of real life.


105,000 Americans tell Congress to stop cutting critical funding for national parks

from NPCA

Washington, DC – Today, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) announced that more than 105,000 Americans have signed their petition calling on Congress to stop cutting critical funding for national parks. The signatures were gathered through NPCA’s National Parks Protection Project.

“As we approach the Centennial of the National Park Service, we must ensure our national parks receive adequate funding for our children and grandchildren to enjoy,” said NPCA President Tom Kiernan. “This is by far the most successful petition drive we’ve ever had – in nearly 100 years of operations – and it’s time for Congress to take notice of how many people have joined this effort.”

NPCA founded the National Parks Protection Project as an effort to show both Congress and the American people why it is important to adequately fund the national parks for our children and grandchildren.

Our national parks not only protect America’s heritage, they are important to local economies nationwide. Research shows that every federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least four dollars of economic value for the American people. National parks support more than $13 billion of local private-sector economic activity and nearly 270,000 private-sector jobs.

“The federal government has a responsibility to keep our national parks adequately funded,” said Kiernan. “The National Parks Protection Project is our effort to explain why and I am grateful to the more than 105,000 people across the country who joined our effort.”

Click here for more information.

Glacier National Parki, where my three fantasy novels are set, has been plagued with these cutbacks. Even normal maintenance on trails, signs, structures and other parts of the infrastructure has been postponed again and again. When I first went to Glacier in 1963, the park advertised 1000 miles of trails. Now it advertises 700 miles of trails. If we are going to protect the wilderness, we need to spend what it takes to do it.


Kindle edition

What the hell is Florida Power Thinking?

While the heading of this post is mine, the story comes from the National Parks and Conservation Association:

Everglades National Park…home to the largest wilderness area east of the Rockies; home to the largest protected mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere; and home to 68 federally threatened and endangered species. 

Does this sound like a place for giant towers puncturing the landscape with multiple power lines stretching as far as the eye can see? We don’t think so either.

The National Park Service is currently accepting public comment on a proposal that would allow Florida Power and Light (FPL) to build massive transmission lines through Everglades National Park. The use is completely incompatible with the designated purpose of the Everglades, and it is therefore necessary that FPL find an alternative route. Taxpayers are the rightful owners of America’s national parks, like the Everglades. Conveying a track of Everglades National Park–also a U.S. World Heritage Site–to a for-profit utility for a transmission lines corridor poses a threat to the Everglades ecosystem and conflicts with long-term restoration efforts. This is definitely not the way to treat a World Heritage Site.

Take Action: Submit your comments to Everglades Superintendent Dan Kimball and tell him that Everglades and all national parks are owned by the American people and are not for power lines.

Growing up in Florida, I learned that “swamps” were often simply tolerated as junk land that needed to be fixed in some way. In the panhandle, Tate’s Hell swamp was logged to death while the natural flow of the water was dammed up with the logging roads. In south Florida, the Everglades is constantly under threat due to water and air quality issues, invasive species and the sprawl of nearby cities. Power lines through the swamp are another one of the many insults.

Let’s try to stop them from being built.

See also, a new threat to the Grand Canyon in House Funding Bill Reverses Policy to Protect Grand Canyon


Learn more about the historic milestones of Glacier National Park’s Swiftcurrent Valley, site of Many Glacier Hotel and Swiftcurrent Campground, for only 99 cents on Kindle. The e-book is also available for 99 cents in multiple formats on Smashwords.

This short introduction to Glacier National Park’s Swiftcurrent Valley will delight, entertain, and offer a glimpse into the dramatic history of the most beautiful place on Earth… or so many visitors claim!

Crown of the Continent Resources

The ‘Crown of the Continent’ ecosystem is one of North America’s most ecologically diverse and jurisdictionally fragmented ecosystems. Encompassing the shared Rocky Mountain region of Montana, British Columbia and Alberta, this 28,000 square mile / 72,000 square kilometre ecological complex spreads across two nations; across one state and two provinces; and across numerous aboriginal lands, municipal authorities, public land blocks, private properties, working and protected landscapes. — Crown Managers Partnership

As national headlines focus on whether a potential lack of funding at the federal level will jeopardize national parks and water quality standards, I thought I would focus on the positive work being one throughout the Alberta/Montana/British Columbia Crown of the Continent Ecosystem by listing a few of the organizations you can turn to for information, programs and advocacy.

Alberta Wilderness AssociationAlberta Wilderness Association (AWA) is the oldest wilderness conservation group in Alberta dedicated to the completion of a protected areas network and the conservation of wilderness throughout the province.

Bob Marshall Wilderness ComplexTogether, the Great Bear Wilderness, the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Scapegoat Wilderness form the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, an area of more than 1.5 million acres.

Crown of the Continent EcosystemEncourage and support coordination and cooperation among individuals, organizations, and agencies whose purpose is to educate and inform people of all ages and backgrounds about the human and natural resources of the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.

Citizens for a Better FlatheadTo inform and empower citizens in cooperative community development that respects and encourages stewardship of the Flathead Valley’s natural beauty and resources.

Flathead National ForestStretching along the west side of the continental divide from the US Canadian border south approximately 120 miles lies the 2.3 million acre Flathead National Forest. The landscape is built from block fault mountain ranges sculpted by glaciers, and covered with a rich thick forest.

Headwaters MontanaWe are working to secure the highest level of protection possible for pristine public lands, such as watersheds in the Swan, Mission, Whitefish and Yaak ranges and untouched Crown lands across our border with Canada.

National Park Service, Glacier National ParkCome and experience Glacier’s pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a hiker’s paradise for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness and solitude.

Nature Conservancy – MontanaOur mountains, rivers, grasslands and forests make Montana a natural paradise.

Waterton Lakes National ParkRugged, windswept mountains rise abruptly out of gentle prairie grassland in spectacular Waterton Lakes National Park.

While there’s much to be done on behalf of our environment, we can, I think, make better progress by making commitments to positive change as individuals and groups rather than standing on the sidelines and preaching to the choir about what we don’t like. We know what we need to do–or, we can learn.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of two novels set partially within the Crown of the Continent ecosystem, “The Sun Singer” and “Garden of Heaven.” The e-book edition of his comedy/satire, “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire,” is currently on sale for only 99 cents at Smashwords and on Kindle.

In Wildness is the Preservation of the World

North Georgia Christmas
“Machinery and convenience are too often mistaken for civilization nowadays, but in fact civilization can be measured only by whether we live in harmony with nature, with one another, and with the divine.” — Arthur Versluis in “Island Farm”

In her excellent post called “Winter Walks and the Wild,” author and editor Zinta Aistars ponders the reasons she is drawn away from suburbia into the bitterly cold, snowy countryside of Michigan. She’s looking for a connection with the wild and, when she finds it, she also finds harmony.

She’s been reading Arthur Versluis’ “Island Farm,” a book that author James Cowan calls “a Walden for our time.” The book matches Aistars’ experience and for those who cannot—or who have not yet—gone in search of nature in its most basic form, the book tells us what we are missing and what we have lost.

What we are missing is our connection with the rest of the planet. By this I don’t mean our ability to watch breaking news from the far side of the world as it happens or to communicate with others through blogs and Facebook. The wonders of our technology obscure its deficits.

When Thoreau wrote the words “in wildness is the preservation of the world” in “Walking” in 1862, he went on to say that “the founders of every state which has risen to eminence, have drawn their nourishment and vigor from a similar wild source.” The comforts of our civilization have, I believe, not only blocked the flow of understanding and energy from that source, they have blocked our respect for the source as a viable source.

Nonetheless, we are hearing more about about nature and spirituality and connections these days. When we first heard such thoughts, we—as a modern society—tended to label them as tree-hugger platitudes and new age mumbojumbo. Now we’re starting to see that there might possibly be something happening behind the fog of platitudes and mumbojumbo. Hard science documents some of it and personal experience, like that of Zinta Aistars, documents some of it.

At present, we’re not yet sure just how big “it” is. We’re drawn more and more to the wild, but we’re not yet ready to plunge into it with a point-of-no-return attitude: “I want to become one with the deer from the comfort of my toasty warm car.”

The nearest shaman in our neighborhood still has a lot of teach us about connecting with the wild. And we still have a lot of listening to do before we’ll understand once and for all that our lives depend on that wildness more than on our technology.

“Civilization has so cluttered this elemental man-earth relationship with gadgets and middlemen that awareness of it is growing dim. We fancy that industry supports us, forgetting what supports industry.” — Aldo Leopold in “A Sand County Almanac”

Only $5.99 at OmniLit

‘The Wolverine Way’

“These animals’ off-the-charts strength and survival skills had become a source of inspiration for me by now. Even so, I was never going to get used to dealing with the intensity of a wolverine when it’s up close and cornered.” — Douglas Chadwick, National Parks Magazine, Winter 2011

Seven years ago, author and biologist Douglas Chadwick volunteered for The Wolverine project, a five-year study conducted in Glacier National Park by The Wolverine Foundation. Chadwick has compiled his experiences into The Wolverine Way, a 250-page book released in May by Pantagonia. (There’s a detailed story in the June18th issue of The Missoulian.)

Chadwick’s book and the related article in the current issue of National Parks may help dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings about this seldom-seen animal that is, as Chadwick says, “more complex than the legends that surround it.

As the non-profit Wolverine Foundation notes on its website, it is focusing on the wolverine not “because we feel the wolverine is in danger of extinction, but because it is in need of attention.” The site includes links to the growing database of wolverine information that will suit the needs of wildlife biologists and the general public.

The Wolverine Way is a nice addition to the library of those with a passion for Glacier National Park.

One can only stand in awe of an animal with a strategy that Chadwick suggests might sound like this:  “Go hard, and high, and steep, and never back down, not even from the biggest grizzly, and least of all from a mountain.”

Set partly in Glacier Park, the e-book edition of this novel is only $5.99

Songs and Whispers of the Living Earth

“On a quiet day, however, those walking alongside the relatively recent Lake Sherburne reservoir may hear the voice of grandfather rock whispering a secret: within the scope of geologic time, all rivers are new, and the men and women who follow them are as ephemeral as monarch butterflies on a summer afternoon.” — Malcolm R. Campbell in “Bears, Where They Fought,” Nature’s Gifts Anthology

Perhaps you’ve heard the Earth’s Goddess call your name. If not, wade in the rolling surf along the edge of the sea or hike through the heart of a desert or wait quietly at the summit of a mountain where old stone touches the sky. Some hear the Goddess voice more clearly at night beneath a full moon.

If your own heart holds a strong passion for a place, then that is where you will best hear Earth whispering her secrets. Calm your breath and your mind’s ever-chattering thoughts. Then, take off your shoes and gloves and touch that which is ancient with the young soles of your feet and your neophyte fingertips.


The songs and whispers of the living earth may come to you as a breath of wind, the roar of surf or a mountain stream, the faint rasp of sage brush against cooling sand, the hollow echoes of rain, or the sharp clatter of stone falling on stone. You may find a message within seemingly mundane signs.

Yet, what you hear, you may not hear with your ears. The Earth may speak to you with a voice inside your heart, clear and distinct from your own thoughts. When the Goddess speaks, you may hear her voice as you would recall a memory or the almost audible music within seemingly inert water, sand or stone beneath the watchful eye of the moon.

Your right-now sense of Earth’s message may be strong in the moment of contact or it may catch your attention later in dreams and daydreams. One way or another, you will know when the Goddess has called your name, for her song brings with it a great comfort whether she imparts a secret or asks of you a favor.

Like fluttering butterflies, we are momentary visitors upon the surface of a world that is incomprehensibly ancient, yet when we hear Earth’s voice, we know to a certainty that we are not separate from sand and water and stone.


“Thank you for stopping by my Blog! Please explore all this Blog has to offer, then jog on over to “Mysteries and My Musings.” If you would like to visit a different Blog in the jog, go to Blog Jog Day.

Glacier Centennial: Green Business Program

from NPS Glacier…

The National Parks Conservation Association has teamed up with the Centennial Program to launch a Green Business Program. This program will empower local businesses to reduce their environmental impact, resulting in a more efficient and sustainable means of doing business.

Through collective action, Glacier Centennial Green Businesses will help to reduce the environmental impact on our region; decrease the amount of unnecessary waste that goes into our landfill, reduce energy use, conserve water, and foster a healthy local economy by supporting local businesses.

Mark your calendars! Join us for several Green Business Activities on April 20-22, 2010. Stay tuned for more information.

Click here for more information and a PDF application form. Even if you’re not applying, the form itself has a lot of valuable tips and links.


Glacier Centennial: Nature is YOU

“That was the moment that defined my place in the natural world. The moment I understood that I, a human being, was not above the other creatures of Creation. Not better than the bees and the birds and the bears. Not superior to the snakes and the snails and the swallows. I was Nature. Nature was me.” –Smoky Trudeau, writing of an early childhood experience in Observations of an Earth Mage

Like many visitors to Montana’s Glacier National Park, I enjoy the historic hotels, the ancient red tour buses, the launch trips on the lakes, and a fine meal in the dining room with a wide-windowed vista such as Waterton and Swiftcurrent Lakes.

The highlighted sites and activities in park service and hotel brochures hardly scratch the surface of what a park is–and what it could be.

There has always been a fight over what the parks are for. Are they wildlife habitats and protected ecosystems or are they recreation areas that must continue to be “developed” for use by visitors at the expense of that which is preserved?

Montana’s Glacier National Park and Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park form the world’s first International Peace Park, a designation they received in 1932. Since 1976, the parks have also been designated by the U.N. as Biosphere Reserves; and, since 1995, also has World Heritage Sites.

Biosphere Reserves focus, to great extent, on the relationship between man and nature. I like the idea, but see in that outlook the fiction that nature and man are opposing forces with different agendas. True, it often looks that way, and we have a lot of damage to show for it. Nonetheless, the biosphere approach and designation take us deeper into the heart of what wilderness is, deeper than the red buses and the old hotels, and the sightseeing approach to the natural world.

The National Parks Second Century Commission wrote in its recent “Advancing the National Park Idea” report that “In 1916, Congress created the National Park Service to manage a growing collection of special places ‘unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.’ The world has changed profoundly since that time, and so has the national park idea, adapting to the needs of a changing society. But at the core of the idea abides an ethic that embraces the preservation of nature and our shared heritage, and promotes regard for their significance inside the parks and throughout our country.”

I hope this report will help generate the positive discussions we need for ensuring that continuation of Glacier National Park as a safe haven for wildlife and a continuation of the natural world of the Crown of the Continent. What, indeed, will we have in here in this mountain fastness to celebrate 100 years from now. While public access and enjoyment is part of the picture, I see no entitlement there that allows access at the expense of what we are trying to preserve. Perhaps this means limits to daily visitor counts, the elimination of park overflights, the reduction of vehicle traffic, and other facilities and features that lend themselves more to crowds and theme parks than wilderness.

Not everyone wants to step off the historic red bus and get out on a trail. That’s fine, but it’s also a pity. For, as Robert Pirsig said in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” seeing the world from a car window is just like watching TV. I agree. One only experiences a fraction of his own heritage–as opposed to a separate nature heritage–by riding on launches and buses. And, attempts to sanitize and make nature overly accessible simply put the world of which we are a part at a further remove while creating unnatural eyesores where the mountains, lakes and forests are all that we need.

Copyright (c) 2010 by Malcolm R. Campbell