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Newcastle aquatic invasive species watercraft check station moves to new location

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The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is alerting boaters that the aquatic invasive species (AIS) watercraft check station in Newcastle has moved to a new location.

According to the Game and Fish, following the confirmation of zebra mussels in Pactola Reservoir in the Black Hills of South Dakota in fall 2022, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department began operation of an AIS watercraft check station in Newcastle in 2023 at the Gateway Travel Center.

For the 2024 boating season, the watercraft check station has moved approximately one-half mile east of the intersection of Highways 85 and 16. The new location is on Ranch Market Road near Crystal Park Campground. It can be reached via the gravel road behind the Gateway Travel Center or from Highway 16. 

“The move allows access to all utilities needed for efficient check station operations and is a location that has less traffic so it is safer for everyone involved” Newcastle AIS Crew Lead Ken Feduff said. “Signage has been moved to help direct traffic, but please be on the lookout for the new location.” 

The Gateway Travel Center check station saw high traffic volume in its first year. It operated March 1 through Nov. 30, 2023, during which time technicians inspected 1,458 watercraft and used water heated to more than 120 degrees to decontaminate more than 100 watercraft considered high risk for transporting AIS.

Game and Fish reminds the public that all watercraft traveling into Wyoming from March 1 – Nov. 30 each year must be inspected prior to launching. Boaters also must stop at any open AIS check station they pass with their watercraft while traveling to or from their boating destination. Open stations are marked with road signs and a map of statewide inspection locations can be found on the Game and Fish website

Boaters can prevent the spread of AIS and shorten their time at check stations by cleaning, draining and drying their watercraft before leaving a water.

“Public cooperation and the practice of ‘Clean, Drain, Dry’ boating is vital to protecting Wyoming’s waters. With the expansion of zebra mussels in South Dakota, the risk to Wyoming waters continues to grow,” Sheridan Region AIS Specialist Reed Moore said. “Unfortunately, we continue to see watercraft entering check stations with their bilge plugs in and/or with compartments containing standing water. Standing water creates an increased risk for transporting AIS, as it creates an environment that allows organisms to remain viable while they are transported over land.”

Game and Fish also wish to remind the public that AIS decals are required for all motorized watercraft, hard-sided watercraft and inflatable watercraft over 10 feet in length. They can be purchased online, at local license selling agents and Game and Fish regional offices. They cannot be purchased at check stations.
Information on the inspection process, AIS decals and more can be found on the WFGD website.

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