Weekend Update for June 18-19, 2011
Contact: Ellen Blickhan, 406 888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. - Park officials invite visitors to Glacier National Park for a fee free day on the summer solstice, Tuesday, June 21. All entrance fees are waived for entry into Glacier National Park. There are more campgrounds and services open in Glacier National Park this week. In the Many Glacier valley, the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, Many Glacier Hotel, Many Glacier boat tours and Swiftcurrent Campground opened for the season on Friday, June 17. In the Two Medicine valley, boat tours have begun operation. Ranger Led Activities have commenced and schedules can be found online or at entrance stations to the park.
Due to the lingering snowpack, the Two Medicine and Cutbank Campgrounds will delay opening until at least the following week. Horse trips in the Lake McDonald and Many Glacier valley are delayed until trail and lake conditions allow these activities. Many of the park's trails and backcountry campgrounds may be under snow later than normal. Snow hazards may linger through July or into August. The placement of some backcountry suspension bridges have been delayed due to high water. Visitors are reminded to check trail conditions in a visitor center or backcountry office before departing on the trail.
Plowing continues on the Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road). Although, there is no estimate on when the upper sections of the Sun Road will be cleared of the winter snow pack, plow crews are working diligently. To accelerate progress, the plow crews will add an extra work day per week to the plow schedule starting June 20. On the west side, crews pioneered through the Triple Arches and are approximately two miles from Logan Pass. On the east side, crews have completed initial plowing of the east tunnel and are a mile from Logan Pass. Crews are encountering the largest snowpack this late in the season and in their experience.
"Although, we are not ready to estimate when the Sun Road will open in the upper elevations, the park is open and ready for visitors. With a fee free day on Tuesday, this is a great time to enjoy the park and our many services, activities, and roads," said Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright, "The wildlife, waterfalls and wildflowers are impressive at this time of year and should not be missed."
On the west side, there will be a hiker/biker restriction at Packer's Roost, six miles beyond Avalanche Creek on Saturday, June 18 due to construction. There are no planned hiker/biker restrictions on the west side on Sunday, June 19 or on the east side all weekend. Beginning June 20, HK Contractors, the contractor for the Sun Road rehabilitation, will begin night work beyond the Avalanche Creek closure. No travel will be allowed through the construction zone outside of a 15 minute window from 2:00 a.m. to 2:15 a.m. Monday night through Friday mornings.
Park officials anticipate higher water levels in creeks, streams and rivers throughout the park for a longer duration than usual with some reaching flood stage. Visitors are reminded to use caution around water, be aware of their surroundings and to know the weather forecast. Visitors should not attempt to cross flooded roads as the road surface may be compromised.
Links for photos, video clips, road conditions, plowing status, and ranger led activities can be found on the park's home page of our web site.
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