WATERSPORTS -- No need to travel to Alaska for a good dose of pesky biting insects.
The National Park Service has issued a media release warning visitors heading to Lake Roosevelt for the holiday weekend to be ready for mosquitoes at the campgrounds, boat launches and day use facilities.
Conditions this summer at the reservoir that stretches up to 150-miles behind Grand Coulee Dam have been optimal for mosquitoes, officials say.
"Visitors, park staff, our neighbors, and our partners have been dealing with an extraordinarily large mosquito population, especially in the north district near Kettle Falls," says the release.
The National Park Service encourages visitors to plan to protect themselves from mosquitoes during their stay, especially at dawn and dusk. Loose fitting long-sleeved shirts and pants that provide ‘depth’ combined with a mosquito repellant will offer good protection. When using mosquito repellants look for products registered with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, always follow label instructions, and take special care when applying to children. Also, make sure screens to windows and doors on recreational vehicles and tents are in good working order.
While park staff understands from personal experience the desire to control the mosquito population, National Park Service regulations, policies, and guidance protecting natural resources of this area do not allow for spraying programs unless mosquitoes are found to be carrying diseases, such as West Nile.
The National Park Service at Lake Roosevelt relies on monitoring information from the surrounding health districts, Washington State Department of Health, and the mosquito control districts of eastern Washington in determining the level of risk to human health from mosquito borne viral diseases.
To date, the National Park Service is unaware of infected mosquitos found in the immediate vicinity of Lake Roosevelt.