Repairs Underway Above Lake McDonald Winter Closure
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park Superintendent Mick Holm today announced that Sandry Construction of Bigfork / Kalispell has hired Crux Subsurface of Spokane to repair storm damage at two locations along Upper McDonald Creek, approximately 3 and 5 miles beyond Avalanche Creek, and the North Lake McDonald Road Bridge (Kelly Camp Bridge) located approximately .5 miles beyond the west side winter vehicle closure at Lake McDonald Lodge. Details are being finalized, but work is expected to begin soon and be completed as quickly as possible.
Although this winter work required the plowing of one lane of the Going-to-the-Sun (Sun) Road, one lane remains snow-covered for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The contractor is expected to work Mondays through Fridays during daylight hours. For safety reasons, pedestrian access is prohibited in the plowed lane during work hours. When work is not occurring, hikers and bicyclists can travel on the plowed lane; signs will indicate when closures are in effect and caution should be exercised.
"The plowing of one lane was necessary to allow access to the Sun Road work sites and to stock pile materials for the repairs. Skiers and snowshoers are welcome to utilize the snow-covered lane but are asked to abide by work zone restrictions," stated Holm. He added, "West side winter motorized vehicle access is unaffected by the road work to the west side. Vehicles can travel 11.5 miles on the Sun Road from West Glacier to Lake McDonald Lodge.
The access road and the bridge across Upper McDonald Creek at the head of Lake McDonald are both temporarily closed to all use until further notice due to structural damage sustained by the bridge during the November flooding.
During bridge reconstruction an area closure will be in place for the shoreline from the north end of the Lake McDonald Lodge complex to the inlet below this bridge. The closure will mitigate for construction disturbance on bald eagles in the area. There were 13 eagles recorded in the vicinity December 17.
Superintendent Mick Holm said, "We are committed to repairing damage and restoring access following the November 7-8, 2006, storm with minimal impact on visitors. By repairing bridge and road damage this winter, these resources will be ready for use in the spring when demand is greater and road work will focus on higher elevation repairs." He continued, "Despite this work, there are numerous recreational opportunities on the park’s west side as well as throughout the park." Another popular west side cross country skiing / snowshoeing option is the park’s Camas Road and the Camas Road / McGee Meadow loop. Ski trail descriptions, maps and current conditions are available on the Internet at: http://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/ski/xcski.htm
Did You Know?
Lake McDonald is the largest lake in the park with a length of 10 miles and a depth of 472 feet. The glacier that carved the Lake McDonald valley is estimated to have been around 2,200 feet thick.