Entire Going-to-the-Sun Road Projected to Open Thursday, June 24
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
Contact: Wade Muehlhof, 406 888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park officials announce that the Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) will open across Logan Pass to motorized vehicle traffic mid-day Thursday, June 24, 2010, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Park officials report that this is the earliest opening of Logan Pass since 2006 when Logan Pass opened on June 23.
Visitors should use caution when in the Logan Pass area as there are up to 10-foot-tall vertical snow banks and many trails are still snow covered. There is currently no potable water available at Logan Pass. Due to concrete work at the visitor center, portable toilets will be provided for visitor use. Once the road opens the Logan Pass Visitor Center will be open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. including the Glacier Association bookstore. The popular Highline trail is currently closed from Logan Pass to the Haystack Butte saddle and is projected to open for the season on the weekend of July 10 after snow hazards are ‘treaded’ by park personnel and volunteers.
“In spite of a very wet June which caused many delays, this spectacular National Historic Landmark mountain roadway is now open for day-time travel between St. Mary and West Glacier unless it is temporarily closed due to weather,” remarked park Superintendent Chas Cartwright.
Road rehabilitation will occur on two sections of the Sun Road this summer. Cartwright noted, “Glacier is fortunate to have received additional federal funding that allows acceleration of the rehabilitation project during 2010.” In addition to the 2010 work already scheduled and funded through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) between Big Bend and Logan Pass, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds are supporting additional work between Logan Pass and Siyeh Bend (also administered by the FWHA) for a second phase of rehabilitation work to occur simultaneously. Visitors should plan for short delays of a maximum of 40 minutes for a one-way trip across the entire Sun Road.
HK Contractors, Inc. now has day and night-shifts working at both works zones between Big Bend and Logan Pass and between Siyeh Bend and Logan Pass. Night work during 2010 is scheduled for Monday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. on the west side of the Continental Divide. No passage will be allowed through the construction zone during the entire 10-hour nightshift. The Sun Road on the east side of the Divide will have the same nighttime restrictions, but there will be one short, 15-minute window for passage through the construction zone at 2 a.m. Otherwise, no access is allowed through the work zones during night work. There is no night work scheduled for Friday through Sunday. Sun Road rehabilitation information is available at http://www.wfl.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/gtsr/.
Heavy rainfall Monday, June 21 prompted the temporary closure of the Inside North Fork Road between Logging Creek and Fish Creek due to flooding. All other park roads are open to motorized vehicle travel. Logging Creek and Quartz Creek campgrounds are scheduled to open July 1. Granite Park Chalet opens Tuesday, June 29 and Sperry Chalet opens Wednesday, July 7.
The park’s free, optional Sun Road shuttle service will begin operating to locations along the Sun Road and Apgar Village for the summer on Thursday, July 1 and continue operations through Labor Day, Monday, September 6. This free, step-on-step-off, no frills shuttle provides an alternative for visitors traveling the Sun Road. Started in July 2007, the shuttle system is part of Glacier’s program to minimize impacts on visitors throughout the multi -year Sun Road rehabilitation. The transit service provides an alternative mode of transportation for those who don’t mind leaving their vehicles behind. The last evening buses depart Logan Pass for points east and west at 7:15 p.m.
This option is available in addition to popular guided tours by Sun Tours from a Blackfeet perspective (800-786-9220 or 406-226-9220 or www.glaciersuntours.com) and aboard the historic red buses with Glacier Park, Inc. (406-892-2525 or www.glacierparkinc.com).
Hikers should always exercise caution around snow and other water hazards and be sure to wear sturdy, treaded footwear while walking on snow and be prepared for weather changes and other potential hazards. Cartwright noted that water-related accidents are the number one cause of accidental death at Glacier National Park. All park visitors are urged to be prepared, be familiar with their equipment and know their personal limitations. Go to the park’s web page at http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/yoursafety.htm for details about: “Bears, Water, Wildlife, Mountain Lions and Watch Your Step.”
For current information on park roads and weather conditions, and visitor services throughout the park, visit Glacier's website www.nps.gov/glac, dial 511 anywhere in Montana (select option 5) or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800.
Did You Know?
If current trends continue, some scientists predict that by the year 2030, Glacier National Park will not contain any glaciers and many of the park's smaller glaciers will melt even sooner.