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Storm May Dampen Memorial Day Weekend in Glacier National Park

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Date: May 22, 2008
Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406-888-7895

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Memorial Day Weekend marks the traditional beginning of the summer vacation season, and many activities, including some concession operations, are scheduled to be available this weekend in Glacier National Park. Park officials caution visitors that the National Weather Service is forecasting significant rain for the park for May 22 to 23, 2008. Should this storm materialize and bring the predicted five inches of rain, flooding within the park may occur, potentially prompting evacuations or impacting the operating status of roads and visitor services. Additionally, due to continued deep snow and the potential for flooding, several campgrounds will remain closed this holiday weekend.

Many park roads are currently open for vehicle traffic. On the Going-to-the-Sun Road, visitors may travel east approximately 16 miles from West Glacier to Avalanche and 6 miles west from St. Mary to Rising Sun. In addition, the Camas Road, the Chief Mountain Road, the Many Glacier Road, the Two Medicine Road to Running Eagle Falls, and the Inside North Fork from the Polebridge Ranger station south to Logging Creek and north to Big Prairie are also open to vehicle traffic. (Note- the Akokala Creek Bridge en route to Big Prairie has a total vehicle weight limit of ten tons.) These roads may close at any time for safety reasons.  The Cut Bank Road from the park boundary remains closed at this time; it will not open this weekend.

The Apgar Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Apgar, St. Mary and Sprague Creek campgrounds are currently open for full-service camping for $20/night. Full-service camping is also available at Bowman Lake starting on May 23, for $15/night. Cut Bank, Many Glacier, and Two Medicine campgrounds will not open this weekend, due to snow in the campgrounds. Kintla Lake and Rising Sun campgrounds are closed due to the potential for flooding. They will open when conditions permit. At that time, Rising Sun Campground will provide full-service camping for $20/night. Officials note that once reopened, Kintla Lake Campground will be in primitive status (no water provided, $10/night) due to a waterline problem; it will be repaired and open as a full-service campground for $15/night as soon as possible.

Activities are scheduled to be available this holiday weekend from several park concessioners. Glacier Park, Inc. operates tours aboard the refurbished historic red buses starting May 24. Sun Tours is currently offering 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 and Apgar beginning May 24. Boat rentals will be available this weekend (May 24-May 26) at Apgar from Glacier Park Boat Company; its daily summer operation at Apgar begins on May 31. Glacier Park Boat Company will start boat tours for the season at Lake McDonald on May 24. Waterton InterNation Shoreline Cruise Co. boats are currently offering tours of Waterton Lake; landings at Goat Haunt begin on May 31.

Lodging is available from park concessioner Glacier Park, Inc. at the Lake McDonald Lodge starting May 24. Privately-owned lodging and other visitor services are available in the park at Apgar Village and in gateway communities.

Glacier National Park entrance rates are $25/single vehicle and $12/single entrant. An annual pass, good for unlimited entry to Glacier National Park for one year from the date of purchase, is $35. Even when the entrance stations are not staffed, entrance fees are still required. Follow the posted instructions to pay the entrance fee at the self-pay stations at each entrance.

Park visitors are reminded that all park animals are wild, unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Feeding of any park wildlife is against the law and is 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.

As noted, visitors are cautioned that weather conditions may cause hazardous driving conditions and/or temporary closures of park roads. Visitors should also watch for avalanche slides, falling rocks, and debris. Officials will provide additional updates if conditions deteriorate.

Visitors are reminded to use extreme caution near water. Debris-laden streams and rivers are flowing fast and the water is extremely cold. Should flooding occur, visitors should stay at higher ground, and should not cross flooded roads or bridges.

Road conditions and flooding updates will be provided on Glacier’s automated system 406-888-7800 (extension 2). This recording will be updated as necessary.

Current road conditions are available on the park’s Web site at http://www.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm. 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 additional park information, please visit Glacier National Park’s Web site (www.nps.gov/glac) or call 406-888-7800.

- NPS -

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