Yellowstone National Park to Ban Felt Soled Boots

Yellowstone National Park will ban felt sole waders and boots starting in the 2018 summer season.

According to a Yellowstone press release, alongside the felt ban, the park will be implementing a new boating season.

The ban is meant to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species (AIS) into the park’s waterways, which could be extremely damaging to Yellowstone’s ecology and severely impact recreation in the park.

The park is banning felt because it can trap AIS more easily. Further, microscopic organisms can persist in felt even after a wash.

Instead of felt, anglers will have to wear rubber sole boots, which are easier to keep clean and track fewer organisms.


The park first floated a felt ban in May 2017. Critics of the proposed ban agreed that felt posed a higher risk of picking up AIS hitchhikers, but felt that the real danger was in boots not being cleaned properly before/after fishing trips. Some critics also pointed to Vermont’s decision to rescind its felt boot ban in 2016 as evidence against a Yellowstone ban.

Like boots, boats can also transport AIS, hence the new rules going into effect.

Under the new boating season, boats will be permitted to enter Yellowstone waters from 7 a.m. Saturday, May 26, 2018 until 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 4, 2018. All watercraft must receive a Yellowstone AIS inspection before it can enter the water; according to the press release, watercraft includes power boats, sail boats, canoes, kayaks, and float tubes, among other things. You must also obtain a Yellowstone boating permit.

Permits are available seven days a week (between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) at the following locations for the following watercraft:

Motorized & Non-motorized Watercraft
• Bridge Bay Ranger Station.
• Grant Village Backcountry Office.
• Snake River Ranger Station.

Angler Float Tubes Only
• Bechler Ranger Station.
• Canyon Backcountry Office.
• Mammoth Backcountry Office.
• Northeast Entrance.
• Old Faithful Backcountry Office.

If your boat or other watercraft does not pass inspection, it will not be allowed in park waters.

To ensure your watercraft is free of AIS, clean all equipment thoroughly of plant/animal material and debris like mud and sand. Park staff recommend using high-pressure, hot (120-140 degrees Fahrenheit) water if possible. In addition, you should drain water from your boat’s motor, bilge, livewell, and other compartments.

You should drain water before entering the park to ensure you don’t accidentally dump any AIS in park boundaries.

If possible, dry all compartments in the sun for at least five days.

About Sean Reichard

Sean Reichard is the editor of Yellowstone Insider and author of Yellowstone Insider For Families 2017.

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