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Memorial Day Weekend Update
Contact: Ellen Blickhan, 406 888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – As the spring transitions into the summer season, Glacier National Park announces more openings of roads, campgrounds, and concessions. Although the park has more snow than usual at this time of year, there are opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, and viewing wildlife and scenery.
Two Medicine Road opened to the Ranger Station and the South Shore Trailhead parking lot, however the picnic area and campground remain closed due to snow. The Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) is open for 14 miles from St. Mary to Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side. The vehicle gate remains closed at Avalanche on the west side of the Sun Road. The Bowman Lake road and the campground opened as well as the Inside North Fork road from Polebridge Ranger Station to Logging Creek (eight miles). The road to Kintla Lake remains closed at Big Prairie, six miles from the Polebridge Ranger Station. The Many Glacier road is open in its entirety for vehicles, although no overnight accommodations, camping, or food service are available.
Plowing continued on both sides of the park this week. On the west side, crews have completed initial plowing of the Sun Road through Haystack Creek, approximately three miles beyond the Loop. The crews are encountering snow depths from six to 15 feet deep. On the east side, initial plowing was completed to Siyeh Bend. HK Contractors, the contractor for the Sun Road rehabilitation, joined park crews in the plowing efforts on the east side. Weather, poor visibility and potential flooding in St. Mary hampered plowing efforts mid-week on the east side of the park.
The weather forecast is calling for significant rain and park officials anticipate high water levels on rivers and streams throughout the park, with some reaching flood stage", Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright said. "Visitors should be aware of their surroundings, the weather forecast, and should not attempt to cross flooded roads as the road surface may be compromised. Significant rain and snow will cause avalanche danger to increase on the Sun Road and in the backcountry. We urge visitors to be cautious with the increased dangers that we are seeing this year."
Apgar, Sprague Creek, Bowman Lake and St. Mary Campgrounds are all available for camping. Apgar and St. Mary Visitor Centers, Two Medicine, Many Glacier and Polebridge Ranger Stations, and Apgar Backcountry Permit Center will all be open for information, backcountry permits and boat inspections on Saturday, May 28.
Lake McDonald Lodge and Campstore, boat tours at Lake McDonald, guided hiking and backpacking trips, and vehicle tours are already open and operating for the summer season. The Village Inn and horseback trips in Apgar will be opening on Saturday, May 28.
For the Memorial Day weekend and holiday, there are no planned restrictions for hikers or bikers on the Sun Road. Next week, HK Contractors is scheduled to work Tuesday through Saturday, May 31-June 4. Hikers and bikers will be able to travel three and a half miles beyond Avalanche Creek vehicle gate closure Tuesday through Saturday and there will be no restrictions on hiker/biker travel in the evenings and on Sunday June 5. During high avalanche danger, park officials do not advise hiker/biker travel on the Sun Road beyond Avalanche Creek and Jackson Glacier Overlook. Stopping in avalanche paths is not recommended.
- NPS –
Did You Know?
Did you know that in 2010, the same year as our 100th anniversary, visitation to the park set a new record of 2.2 million visitors?