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Contact: Norma Sosa, 406-888-7883
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Officials at Glacier National Park are pleased to announce that the entire Going-to-the Sun Road (Sun Road), will open the morning of Wednesday July 2.
The opening of the Sun Road has been a challenging process due to a snowy winter, late-spring storms and avalanche activity. "Our road crews have been working extremely hard to open the Sun Road this spring. Plowing in avalanche terrain is no easy task. During the snow storm that occurred the 2nd week of June, 25 avalanche paths slid. 20 of those paths hit the cleared road and completely filled the corridor between Triple Arches and Logan Pass," stated Chas Cartwright, Glacier’s new superintendent. Cartwright added, "Through the whole process, the safety of our crews and the general public is our number one concern. We have completed the work as quickly as we can in a safe manner and are pleased that we are able to open the entire Sun Road for the enjoyment of summer park visitors."
Once the alpine section of the Sun Road opens across the Continental Divide at Logan Pass (elevation 6, 646 feet), visitors will be able to travel the entire 52-mile National Historic Landmark road between St. Mary and West Glacier. The Sun Road rehabilitation process continues. From 6:00 am to 10:00 pm visitors might encounter up to a 30-minute delay as they cross the transmountain highway. When contractors perform night work, overnight delays might be up to 4-hours to allow them to work more efficiently during times of reduced vehicular travel.
Beginning on Thursday, July 3, and continuing through Labor Day, Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road shuttle system will provide free transportation to locations along the Sun Road between Apgar and St. Mary. "Last year was a huge success," said Cartwright. "In its first year, 133, 000 visitors rode the free shuttles. We anticipate that 2008 will be another successful season." Hours of shuttle operation will be from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily. Buses will run every 15-30 minutes on each of the routes. The last buses will depart Logan Pass at 7:00 pm and travel down to both St. Mary Visitor Center and the Apgar Transit Center; visitors must plan their travels accordingly.
With the opening of the entire Sun Road tomorrow morning, parking and rest room facilities will be available at Logan Pass. The Logan Pass Visitor Center will also open for the season. The park’s interpretive staff will give ranger talks 6 times daily at Logan Pass. Trails in the Logan Pass area are currently covered by several feet of snow. Visitors are urged to use caution and know their own personal limits when considering travel on snowy terrain. Snowpack in the Logan Pass area is double what is typical for this time of year. This includes the popular Highline Trail which is under considerable snow. Crews are working to make the Highline and other trails passable to hikers in the coming weeks.
This is one of the latest openings of the entire Sun Road. The latest opening on record is July 10, 1943, when the snow was allowed to melt out. The earliest Logan Pass opening to motorized traffic occurred on May 16, 1987.
Park roads are open for vehicle traffic. However, a portion of the unimproved Inside North Fork Road along the park’s northwest edge remains closed to vehicle use for 16 miles between Fish Creek and Logging Creek due to road damage.
For current information on park road and weather conditions and visitor services throughout Glacier National Park, visit the park's Web site www.nps.gov/glac, dial 511 anywhere in Montana (select option 5) or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800.