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    Glacier

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Park Weekend Update- Going-to-the-Sun Road to Open to Big Bend

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Date: June 15, 2007
Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406-888-7895

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Officials at Glacier National Park announce their intention to open the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun (Sun) Road to Big Bend by noon, Saturday, June 16.

Once open to Big Bend, visitors will be able to travel almost 29 miles from the park’s west entrance along the Sun Road. On the east side, visitors can travel 13.5 miles from St. Mary to Jackson Glacier Overlook. Park road crews will be working this weekend, so on Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and June 17, hikers and bikers will only be allowed to travel as far as "Rip Rap Point," approximately one-half mile from Big Bend. Due to storm damage, no hiker/biker access is allowed on the east-side beyond Jackson Glacier Overlook.

The Camas Road, the Many Glacier Road, the Two Medicine Road, and the Cut Bank Road are also open to vehicular traffic. The Inside North Fork Road is open from the Polebridge Ranger Station to Logging Creek.

"Though the damage caused by last November’s storm to the Rim Rock and Oberlin Bend areas of the Sun Road has been more extensive than was originally thought, we are confident that the entire Sun Road will be open around July 1. The opening to Big Bend will allow visitors to experience the alpine splendor of the road," commented Superintendent Mick Holm.

Park visitor centers in Apgar and St. Mary are open daily. Limited interpretive programs begin on Sunday, June 17. The complete array of programs begins June 24. The schedule of activities can be found in "The Glacier Explorer," which is available at visitor centers, or online at http://www.nps.gov/archive/glac/pdf/explorer-01-2007.pdf.

Campgrounds are available at Apgar, Avalanche, Bowman Lake, Fish Creek, Kintla Lake, Many Glacier, Rising Sun, Sprague Creek, St. Mary and Two Medicine. Primitive camping, with no water provided, is also available at Cut Bank.

A wide range of activities are available from several park concessioners. Glacier Park, Inc. operates tours aboard the refurbished historic red buses and Sun Tours offers interpretive tours featuring a Blackfeet perspective. Guided day hikes and backpack trips are available from Glacier Guides, Inc. Swan Mountain Outfitters offers horseback rides at Lake McDonald, Apgar, and Many Glacier. Boat rentals are available at Apgar from Glacier Park Boat Company. Glacier Park Boat Company also currently offers boat tours and rentals at Lake McDonald, Many Glacier and Two Medicine and will begin tours at Rising Sun starting Sunday, June 17. Waterton International Shoreline Cruise Co. boats offer tours of Waterton Lake, including a stop at Goat Haunt.

Lodging is currently available from park concessioner Glacier Park, Inc. at the Lake McDonald Lodge, Glacier Park Lodge, Many Glacier Hotel, Rising Sun Motor Inn and the Village Inn. Lodging will be available at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn starting June 17. Privately-owned lodging and other visitor services are available in the park at Apgar Village and in gateway communities.

Current area closures include: the south end of St. Mary Lake, the head of Logging Lake, and eastern side of the Inside North Fork Road between Logging Creek and Anaconda Creek. The head of Kintla Lake is also closed to boat traffic. These areas are all closed due to wildlife protection. Trail closures include: the Upper McDonald Horse Bridge due to flooding and the Autumn Creek Trail due to bears. Closures can change at any time and visitor centers will have the most current information.

The entrance fee for a seven day single vehicle entry to Glacier National Park is $25 and the fee is $12 for a single entrant (a biker, walker, or motorcyclist). An annual pass, valid for unlimited entry to Glacier for one year from the date of purchase, is $35. Even when the entrance stations are not staffed, an entrance fee is still required. Follow the posted instructions to pay the entrance fee at the self-payment boxes at each entrance station.

Visitors are cautioned that spring snowstorms can cause hazardous driving conditions and/or temporary closures of park roads. Visitors should also watch for falling rocks and debris. Park visitors are also reminded that all park animals are wild, unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Feeding of any park wildlife is against the law and subject to fines. Visitors are urged to keep a safe distance from all wildlife and to report any bear and/or mountain lion sightings to a park ranger as soon as possible.

Officials also caution that the November 2006 storm caused considerable damage to the backcountry trail system. Hikers should be aware of the possibility of rough, washed out sections of trail throughout the park. Bridges may have been damaged or destroyed. Much of the damage may not be evident until late June, or even July in some alpine areas, when park personnel are able to patrol every trail. Drowning is the number one cause of death in Glacier National Park. Please use extreme caution around water.

For current road condition information, visit the park’s road status Web site http://www.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm.

Current road conditions are also available by calling 511, the Montana Department of Transportation Traveler Information System. If your phone does not support 511, call 1-800-226-7623. Both numbers are toll-free. Select "Glacier Park Tourist Information" from the main menu to hear Glacier’s road report.

For further information on Glacier National Park, visit the park’s Web site at www.nps.gov/glac or call 406-888-7800.

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.