With the boating season in full swing at Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, rangers remind local residents and visitors to operate their boats safely and help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Rangers will participate in Operation Dry Water, a nationwide awareness effort to promote boating safety, this weekend.
As part of Operation Dry Water, rangers will conduct vessel safety inspections at boat launches on Jackson Lake. Rangers will also perform increased patrols on the lake with the goal of increasing awareness about the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol and reducing the number of accidents and deaths attributed to impaired boating. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths in the United States. It is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 or higher.
Boaters are reminded that both a park boat permit and a state of Wyoming aquatic invasive species decal are required before launching on any park waters. Boat permits can be purchased at visitor centers located in Moose, Jenny Lake, and Colter Bay. Aquatic invasive species decals may be purchased at the Wyoming Game and Fish Regional Office in Jackson, at local vendors including marinas and fishing stores, or online at https://wgfd.wyo.gov/apply-or-buy.
Aquatic invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels or plant species such as Eurasian milfoil and curly leaf pondweed pose a serious ecological and economic threat. They can severely alter the native ecology of a body of water and can clog public utility pipes, destroy motorboat engines, limit recreational opportunities, and damage infrastructure such as dams and docks. Boats are the primary mode of unintentional introduction of these species.
To help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, Grand Teton National Park currently operates two aquatic invasive species boat inspection stations, one at Moose and one at Moran, seven days a week. Visitors transporting any watercraft, including non-motorized vessels, are required by law to stop at these check stations when passing by and undergo an inspection. These inspections are necessary as small amounts of water can contain microscopic juvenile mussels or aquatic plants that can in turn colonize a new water body. Though these inspections typically take less than five minutes, boaters can help expedite the process by ensuring their craft is drained, clean, and dry. In addition, recreationists should ensure that any gear that comes in contact with water is clean and dry.
All park boat permits for Grand Teton and the Rockefeller Parkway are valid for the entire season. Boat permits for all motorized watercraft are $40. Permits for all non-motorized watercraft, including stand-up paddle boards, are $10. Grand Teton National Park boat permits are not valid in Yellowstone National Park. More information on boating in Grand Teton can be found at www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/boat.htm.