Recent article in the Flathead Beacon shows that not everyone is ready for motorized watercraft to be allowed back on park waters and that public figures are at fault even before anything goes wrong. A number of immediate commenters and the content of which the author decided to include in the article show that people are very worried about invasive species. They’d rather sacrifice common public land use activities such as motor boat access to help reduce the possibility of invasive species infiltrating the waters in the park. And no doubt it’s a tough job for the park service employees to find the middle ground between preservation and fair public use of the land.
Today the park service announced plans to eventually allow motorized boat access on Glacier Park waters this 2017 season. Ever since the invasive zebra mussels were found to be in some Montana waterways last fall, the park waters have been off limits to public motorized watercraft and it sounded like the park service was not going to work on finding a solution for the public to be able to fully utilize the parks waters. Today’s unusual turn of events make this issue a very intriguing topic. Placing blame on Zinke is interesting because according to the article he’s pushing for the tax funded park service employees to use their field knowledge, experience and educations to find a solution for the people paying the taxes and wages to be able to use the public lands that they fund in the same ways that they have for decades. According the the article he’s asking them to do their jobs. Why anyone would have a problem with this is probably a topic for another discussion, but perhaps what those that oppose Zinke’s alleged pressure should turn their attention to is the question of “Why weren’t the park service government employees coming up with this solution in the first place?” This rigorous 30 day boat quarantine plan could have been implemented before peak season and tax paying members of the public who fund the 2017 Montana Legislature’s recent 6 million dollar appropriation for work preventing invasive aquatic species could have already been responsibly enjoying Glacier Park in the same ways that they’re used to for decades.
One line in this article shows a scary attitude of the public funded national park service: “The National Park Service referred all questions to the Department of Interior.”