The Tribe has ramped up boating regulations on the Flathead Indian Reservation. (MTN News photo)
Tougher boat inspection rules are now in effect on the Flathead Indian Reservation. (MTN News photo)
The rules close most waters to motorized use, with the exception of Flathead Lake and the Lower Flathead River.. (MTN News photo)
Leaders of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are releasing the new boating regulations aimed at keeping invasive mussels from getting a start in the Flathead Basin.
This year's boating regulations for the Flathead Indian Reservation include some of the measures we've seen in the past but with the tribe on heightened alert after the discovery of invasive mussels in central Montana, boaters will face some new provisions as CSKT works with the state and other agencies to try and keep the zebra and Quagga mussels from getting a foothold in the Flathead Basin.
The rules close most waters to motorized use, with the exception of Flathead Lake and the Lower Flathead River. Places like Ninepipes and Pablo Reservoirs will be off limits to all watercraft, as in the past.
The new regulations are backed up by more rigorous boat inspections across the reservation, but tribal leaders are stipulating boats and trailers which have been inspected won't have to be checked again under they are taken off of the Reservation.
Watercraft used only on Flathead Lake and are non-transportable or launched only by rail or shore stations -- such as those owned by residents living along the lake -- can apply for a Flathead Lake Local Boat Certificate, which will cover the qualifications for inspection.
Boaters are required to stop at all watercraft inspection stations.
Locals and visitors frequenting reservation waters are encouraged to Clean, Drain, Dry all equipment including anchors, ropes, waders and even pets that enter waters of the Reservation at the ramp, to keep from spreading any organisms to other lakes. Canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and all personal floatation devices are also covered by the new rules.
Watercraft check stations are already running on the SKC campus and will move to Highway 93 in Ravalli this weekend. You can also get inspections by appointment, by calling the CSKT Natural Resources Department at (406) 675-2700.