Lincoln County Watercraft Inspection Stations Open for Summer Season

Inspectors at the Troy Watercraft Inspection Station look a boat over for any
potential invasive species which may have hitched an illegal ride towards—or even from—Montana waters. (Photo by Stacy Bender)


by Brian Baxter


Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks watercraft inspection stations are now fully open. “We’re excited to get things up and running this year,” shared Dillon Tabish, Regional Information and Education Program Manager for Montana FWP, Region One. “Our Troy station has already seen 420 boats, and our Thompson Falls station has seen over 200. Statewide this season, we have already seen twice as many watercraft as of this time last year. We have found 21 mussel fouled boats.”

It is hard to miss these stations. They are safely yet obviously placed for public access. The Lincoln County station is located at the U.S. Hwy 2 and Hwy 56 intersection in Troy. Another station can be found in Sanders County at Thompson Falls. A complete list of stations can be found at

The average day begins at each station as teams set up sandwich boards and make sure electric signs are keyed in to help safely alert and direct travelers to the required stops for all watercraft. All boats, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, rafts, paddleboards, and makeshift water vessels of any kind are required to stop.

Clean, drain, and dry is the motto inspectors employ as they greet both local and traveling recreationists enjoying our pristine Montana waters. Aquatic invasive species (AIS) can cause a myriad of problems which have the potential to denigrate water quality and fish populations. These invasive species are spread by watercraft utilizing a variety of boat launches and waterbodies and include mollusks, crustaceans, vertebrates, plants, and algae.

The negative impacts of AIS on humans is also quite substantial. Opportunities for fishing, boating, and simply recreating are severely diminished or lost when AIS outcompete native plants, plankton, and fish. This in turn can affect waterfowl and other wildlife that consume those native staples for life.

Some invasive species have shells sharp enough to cut skin, which often prevents access to swimming and beaches. Negative economic impacts on local communities can occur as revenue from fishing, boating, and tourism is lost. Tabish is glad the word is out that watercraft must stop at these stations.

“It’s encouraging that public awareness is growing, watercraft operators know they must stop and they are willing to, which is positive testimony to the great job the crews are doing,” Tabish said, commending the strong marketing campaign, advertising, and articles in local papers and social media.

On a visit to the Troy station recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see Inspector Charlyn Lacklen working the watercraft checkpoint. Lacklen shared more about a newer addition to the program, the Vessel AIS Prevention Pass which can be purchased online at More information on this program and requirements that boaters are asked to follow can also be found.

These requirements include removing mud, plants, and organisms from boats, trailers, and gears, and cleaning anchors, lines, live wells, and waders. Watercraft users are asked to eliminate water from their boats and equipment and remove drain plugs.

When stopping into the watercraft inspection stations, please allow time for all boats and equipment to dry. On average, the process of inspection takes about 15 minutes, but at times there can be a wait, so inspectors ask for your cooperation and patience in the process. Boaters will have their Watercraft Inspection Passports stamped and be on their way as soon as possible.

All inquiries regarding Watercraft Inspection stations can be directed to Dillon Tabish by phone (406) 751-4564, or email at

92 Motorcycles, 105 People Riding

Over $3,000 raised for Wings

by Stacy Bender


“Good morning, and thank you for joining together to help those fighting this horrible
disease,” shared Jon Dunham as he took the
mic for the Blessing of the Bikes on Saturday, May 29, at the start of the Wings Regional
Cancer Support Motorcycle Poker Run. “I
would like to thank one special person, whose thoughts of this ride made all of this happen.”

“Linda Matthews, along with my wife Kathy and Connie Woods came up with the idea of a ride to help people fighting cancer—as a way to raise money to pay for things insurance does not,” Dunham went on.

“So here we are again, another ride to help. As we begin, let us be thankful that we are able to participate and thank God for the beauty of this area and the ability to ride for good works. We would hold up all those who are here today to You, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that you would guide and protect those participating to keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up and pay attention for critters on the road,” Dunham prayed. “Most of all, watch out for all and keep them safe. In his name we pray, Amen.”

The 2021 Motorcycle Run brought not only a record attendance to the
day-long poker tour, but raised its record amount of dollars for Wings Regional Cancer Support to date—$3,044 and counting. “Thank you all for showing up today and supporting this event,” shared Dee Teske, part of the annual coordinating team. “And a huge thanks to The Venture Inn, Northwest Motor Sports, and Kootenai Country Montana for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes. We’ve been giving away prizes all day long, too—those made possible by so many wonderful businesses here in Lincoln County!”

The 2021 Lincoln County Junior Fair
From a “Junior” Perspective

by Caedence Montgomery, age 14

Lincoln County youth- Can you paint? Bake? Sew? Sing? Do you have an animal you’re
especially proud of? Then the Lincoln County Junior Fair is for you! I’ve been participating
in the Fair for half my life. I’ve entered exhibits in nearly every category, from arts and crafts to photography and baking. One year I even showed my chicken. However, Performing Arts night is my favorite. I have performed a skit with my friends, and I’ve thrown my brother
in a Taekwondo/Judo demonstration. The
audience seemed to enjoy that! This year I plan to play a song on my guitar. I love that you can do or enter almost anything in the Junior Fair. It’s fun to see what amazing and creative
things people come up with. Creativity pays
off, because there are several awards given, such as the High Points Award and People’s Choice Award. In 2019, I won the People’s Choice Award for a dress made entirely from paper plates. Even if you don’t win one of these awards, there are cash awards for Grand Champion, and premiums issued in the Fall. The Junior Fair is an extraordinary opportunity for the youth of
Lincoln County to show their talent, hard work, and dedication.

The 2021 Lincoln County Junior Fair is July 15th-17th at the Libby
Elementary School. Registration is Thursday July 15th from 8am to 8pm.
Fair books include the registration forms, as well as the full fair program.
2021 Fair books can be picked up at: Lincoln County libraries, Eureka schools, Libby schools, Homesteaders, The Western News, and The Montanian.


Design a float, decorate a bike, bake a cake, build a bookshelf, prepare a live talent for presentation, tend your garden, share the ways you’ve learned to care for your livestock, dress-up, dress-down, come enjoy the Junior Fair with fellow youth of all ages, 19 and under. Compare notes, teach and learn, show your community the hard work and dedication to your craft and life skills you practice every day. The 2021 Lincoln County Fair Books are now available to pick-up at all Lincoln County Libraries, Eureka Schools, Libby Schools, Homesteaders, The Western News, and The
Montanian…  if you do it in your every day life at home or school, then there is likely a category for it at this year’s fair! Pick up your fair book today and join the fun about to unfold—two years in the making…


(All photos from 2019 Junior Fair by Stacy Bender)