Yellowstone National Park is banning felt sole waders and boots commonly worn by anglers, citing they can carry and introduce aquatic invasive species (AIS). AIS are aquatic animals, plants, and pathogens that rapidly overpopulate, altering natural habitats and making them inhospitable for native aquatic species.
Yellowstone has had to deal with AIS and this is an attempt to stop new invasive species from coming into the park. Sue Mills, the AIS species manager for the park, said Whirling disease and New Zealand mud snails have already invaded the park. She said the ban on felt soles is important, not just to stop new invasive species.
“Not [only] bringing things from outside of the park, but moving things within the park from one drainage to another. We never want to see that happen even with native species,” said Mills.
These species are extremely difficult to eradicate and costly to manage. Mills said felt soles can carry microscopic organism even after cleaning and can transport an AIS from an impacted drainage to a non-impacted one.
Rubber soles will be allowed since they are easier to be cleaned. As this is the first year of the ban, park rangers will focus on informing the public about the new restrictions.