Public Invited to Fall Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Stakeholder Meetings
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park officials are extending an invitation to the public to attend one of two stakeholder meetings for the Going-to-the-Sun (Sun) Road rehabilitation & visitor experience improvements. The first session will be held Tuesday, October 10 at the Blackfeet Community College in Browning from 1 to 3 p.m. The second meeting will be held Wednesday, October 11 in Kalispell at the Red Lion Hotel from 2 to 4 p.m. At these bi-annual meetings, National Park Service (NPS) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) managers share progress reports and updates, answer questions from the audience and accept public comments.
The NPS at Glacier continues to plan for the 2007 season when the multi-year alpine road rehabilitation gets underway. Along with the road work, various visitor services will be phased in beginning next summer as part of the NPS’ mitigation measures intended to minimize potential impacts of the road rehabilitation on park resources as well as to encourage visitors to continue enjoying the park during the historic landmark roadway’s rehabilitation. The Sun Road transit system and west side transit hub near Apgar Village will be operational in July 2007. Comparable infrastructure will be constructed at the St. Mary entrance and visitor center for the 2008 summer season.
According to Park Superintendent Mick Holm, "Park managers and their FHWA counterparts remain committed to completing the multi-year rehabilitation of the Sun Road in a manner that sustains park visitation while enhancing the visitor experience when and wherever possible as recommended by the Going-to-the-Sun Road Citizens Advisory Committee and later defined in the Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision.
In Holm’s estimation, an optional free shuttle system should be a draw for visitors: "You get into Glacier for a set price. Then the free shuttle takes you to 12 different destinations along the Sun Road." Once entry fees are paid, park visitors will have unlimited access to use the optional Sun Road shuttles. Holm added, "Travelers will still be able to drive their own vehicles, take guided tours with Sun Tours for a Blackfeet cultural perspective or with Glacier Park, Inc., aboard the historic red buses. And now visitors will have the added option of leaving their vehicles behind and taking a hassle-free shuttle along the road."
At the meetings, updates will be provided about projections for upcoming road work in 2007, ongoing preparations for the Sun Road shuttle system and transit support facilities, planning and compliance and communications and outreach measures.
The public’s comments and input are welcome. For planning purposes, anyone wishing to attend either meeting is asked to RSVP no later than Friday, October 6 by calling Lacy Gray at 406-888-7972. Those wishing to attend may also email their name, affiliation, phone, and date of attendance to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written comments may also be submitted by email, Attn:Transit/ITS