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    Glacier

    National Park Montana

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Recent Storm Affects Plowing Efforts

Avalanche debris near Triple Arches on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, 6-22-2014
Avalanche debris near Triple Arches on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, 6-22-2014
NPS Photo

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News Release Date: June 23, 2014
Contact: Denise Germann, 406-888-5838
Contact: Jennifer Lutman, 406-888-7895

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park snow plowing crews continue to clear the Going-to-the-Sun Road after a recent storm brought heavy rain and at least 36 inches of new snow near the Continental Divide. Plowing was slowed, and in some cases stopped last week, due to inclement weather and low visibility. West-side plowing activities resumed on Sunday, June 22 and road crews punched through 16 new snow slides to The Slopes area on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. At least 24 new snow slides on the road were observed by park staff, with more anticipated to be encountered as snow plowing progress continues.

 

Snow plowing activity on the Going-to-the-Sun Road continues this week with crews working on the west and east side of the park. Road crews report encountering snow slides up to 200-feet long and 15-feet deep on the road. In addition to snow removal, crews will work to clear the road of rock, mud, and wood debris. Many areas of the road that were once clear of snow now need to be plowed again. A snow slide destroyed at least eight segments of guard rail near Haystack Creek.

 

Limited shuttle service on the west side of the park is anticipated to begin Thursday, June 26 in an effort to allow for increased visitor access of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Shuttle service will be available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week beginning June 26. Shuttles will depart from the Apgar Visitor Center and travel directly to the Loop, with service available approximately every 20 minutes. No additional stops will be available between the Apgar Visitor Center and the Loop. Visitors must board shuttles at the Apgar Visitor Center if they wish to travel to the Loop by shuttle. No shuttle service will be available on the east side of the park at this time.

 

Additional west-side shuttle stops may be available beginning July 1. Full shuttle service is not anticipated to begin until access to Logan Pass is available.

 

On the west side of the park, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is currently open to vehicle travel from the West Entrance to Avalanche. Hiker-biker access is available from Avalanche to the Loop while road crews are working. For current hiker-biker access restrictions please visit the park's road status webpage at http://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm. Hikers and bikers should always be alert for possible falling rock and avalanche danger.

 

On the east side of the park, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is currently open to vehicle travel from St. Mary to Jackson Glacier Overlook. Road construction activity is currently underway between Rising Sun and Siyeh Bend. Visitors should use caution when traveling this 9-mile stretch of roadway as it is a rough, gravel surface. There is no hiker-biker access past the Jackson Glacier Overlook vehicle closure.

 

It is unknown when additional vehicle access will be available on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Further updates will be available as recent storm damage to the road is assessed and plowing progress continues.   

 

Water levels appear to have stabilized across the park, decreasing the concern of flooding. The St. Mary Campground is now open with limited sites available. Access to Kintla Lake via the Inside North Fork Road is available. The Goat Haunt area is now open and boat tours are operating regularly. Park personnel continue to monitor other areas of the park as temperatures rise and snowmelt continues.

 

Visitors are reminded to use caution around water and snow. Streams and rivers in the park are cold, high, and fast moving. Always wear a life jacket when boating, and use caution when crossing or stepping near bodies of water. Hikers visiting some of the higher elevations in the park should expect snow, and be prepared for changing weather conditions. It is important to know the terrain you are about to hike or climb, and carry the appropriate equipment. When hiking may include snowfield travel, visitors should know how to travel in such challenging conditions, including knowing how to use crampons and an ice axe. It is also recommended to have extra clothing, appropriate maps, first-aid kit, water, and food. Always communicate to someone your planned route of travel and your expected time of return. 

 

For additional questions about Glacier National Park, visit http://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm or call 406-888-7800. Please visit the park's Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps for various images of the park, including recent snow slides on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.  

 

 

- NPS –

Did You Know?

Grizzly bears

Grizzly bears in the park have a wide variety of food sources, including glacier lily bulbs, insects, and berries. They may also make an early season meal of mountain goats that were swept down in avalanches over the winter.