Recent Weather Impacts Park
Contact: Denise Germann, 406 888 5838
The recent rain and snow has impacted some park operations at Glacier National Park. Safety of park personnel and park visitors is priority.
Through Friday, avalanche danger is considered high along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, specifically at the higher elevations above Haystack Creek on the west and Siyeh Bend on the east due to recent heavy snowfall and warming temperatures.
Several snow slides, with some debris, were observed near Haystack and the Alps areas of the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the west side. These slides initiated at a high elevation and continued to the road and across the road.
Due to the hazards of wide-spread slides, access for park personnel and park visitors is limited through Friday at The Loop along the west side of the road. Hiker-biker access will be to The Loop on Friday. Beginning Saturday, it is anticipated that hiker-biker access will be unlimited from Avalanche, although visitors are encouraged to use caution and travel will not be recommended past The Loop. The hazards of falling rock, snow and debris on the road and possible snow slides may be encountered.
On Friday, the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be open to vehicle access to Rising Sun. It is anticipated that vehicle access will be available to Jackson Glacier Overlook by mid-day Sunday. There is no hiker-biker access on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The road surface will be rough, a gravel surface, from Rising Sun to Jackson Glacier Overlook.
The St. Mary Campground remains closed due to flooding and water damage. Some areas of the campground may be available this weekend. Access to the Kintla Lake area is closed at the head of Big Prairie, seven miles north of the Polebridge entrance in the North Fork District of the park.
There is some flooding and areas of concern at Goat Haunt, near the United States-Canadian Border. The dock facilities have sustained some damage. The tour boat operation has been temporarily suspended, and the area is being closely monitored for any additional flood damage.
Park personnel continue to monitor other areas of the park as well, including the Many Glacier and St. Mary areas. The need for any evacuations has greatly lessened, but will be closely monitored as temperatures rise.
Park personnel located at Sperry Chalet to conduct seasonal opening activities this week have reported more than 20 inches of new snow at the chalet. Sperry Chalet is located on the west side of the park, near the Continental Divide.
Plowing work on the Going-to-the-Sun Road is anticipated to resume on Sunday. Crews will assess the situation along the higher areas of the road, and have several areas to plow through again. Most of the equipment was moved to lower elevations on Tuesday as snow began to fall and additional snow was predicted. Some guard rail was destroyed with the recent snow slides along the road, and additional damage is anticipated to be located as crews are able to access the higher locations.
It is unknown when additional vehicle access will be available on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
For additional questions about Glacier National Park, visit http://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm or call 406-888-7800 . Please visit the park’s Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps for various images of the park, including the recent snow slide near Haystack Creek.
Did You Know?
If current trends continue, some scientists predict that by the year 2030, Glacier National Park will not contain any glaciers and many of the park's smaller glaciers will melt even sooner.