Voyageurs National Park Establishes Vessel Decontamination Station at Kettle Falls Portage

Press release

INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN: In response to the discovery of zebra mussel veligers (larvae) in Black Bay of Rainy Lake in late 2021, Voyageurs staff is starting a containment and prevention program. This program involves educational activities as well as new management operations related to Kettle Falls and Gold Portage areas.

Voyageurs National Park management will now require all vessels crossing the Kettle Falls Portage from Rainy Lake to Namakan Lake to be decontaminated by trained staff beginning May 13, 2022.

Visitors may experience delays when portaging at this area. In addition, transporting vessels at Gold
Portage will be allowed from Kabetogama Lake to Black Bay of Rainy Lake only.

What Can Visitors Expect at Kettle Falls:

When crossing from Rainy Lake to Namakan Lake:

  • Boaters will be required to drain bait containers, live wells, ballast tanks, bilge areas, and any other water holds on vessels and equipment.
  • Be prepared to transport caught fish on ice from one lake to another.
  • Have a plan to maintain bait once bait containers are drained.
  • Trained staff will decontaminate all boats (including canoes and kayaks) with a washer using water heated to 140° F.

When crossing from Namakan Lake to Rainy Lake:

  • Boaters will be required to drain bait containers, live wells, ballast tanks, bilge areas, and any other water holds on vessels and equipment.
  • Be prepared to transport caught fish on ice from one lake to another.
  • Have a plan to maintain bait once bait containers are drained.

Operation of the decontamination unit at Kettle Falls will be dependent on National Park Staff (NPS) and concession staffing. At the time of this press release an operational schedule has not been developed. Details will be shared in early May prior to Kettle Falls operations resuming with a follow-up press release.

These operational changes are being implemented to minimize the risk of human activities further transporting zebra mussels upstream within the Rainy Lake Watershed. It is recognized that zebra mussels can significantly harm aquatic ecosystems by reducing the health and populations of native fish and native mussels, cause considerable economic loss resulting from clogged water intake systems, fouled boat motors, and reduce waterfront property values.

To find out more about zebra mussels go to https://www.nps.gov/voya/learn/nature/aquatic-invasive-species.htm .