Jacob Cunningham attends the South Arm Public Boat Launch as a courtesy boat inspector. Photo by Amanda Laliberte

For the 19th year, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust is conducting courtesy boat inspections at public boat launches in the Rangeley Lakes region. Since its inception, inspectors have educated more than 23,000 boaters and visitors to the region on the larger bodies of water: Cupsuptic, Mooselookmeguntic, Richardson, and Rangeley Lakes since the program began.

“Last season, Courtesy Boat Inspectors found 46 plants on boats in our region which was a record for us,” said Amanda Laliberte, program director at trust, according to a news release. “Thankfully none were invasive. Double-checking your boat and gear before and after launching to make sure it’s clean of plants and other debris and isn’t holding water is what will make the difference in keeping our lakes healthy.”

The Rangeley Region lakes and ponds are a precious economic resource as well as an incredible natural resource. Invasive plants can be devastating to a waterbody and local economy. A tiny fragment or a single seed carried on a boat trailer or fishing gear can start an infestation. Invasive aquatic species are self-sustaining and can double in size within a single year, often outcompeting beneficial native plants. They have no natural predators and, left alone, can fill in shorelines with mats of thick fronds, making lakes unsuitable for recreation.

Lake associations and shorefront owners are encouraged to connect with trust to learn more about preventing aquatic invaders by emailing [email protected].