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Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Winter enthusiasts venturing to Glacier National Park this weekend will find a blanket of fresh snow covering the park. Trails and roadways are now in skiable condition throughout the park; however, anyone spending time outdoors is urged to dress warmly and avoid prolonged exposure due to gusty winds and low temperatures. As of Friday, December 19th west side snowpack ranged from three inches at Polebridge to 12 inches at West Glacier. East of the Continental Divide, snowpack ranged from 15 inches at Many Glacier to 17 inches at St. Mary. The low temperature was recorded at Many Glacier; minus 31 degrees was registered at midnight on December 16.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road is currently open for vehicle travel 10 miles from West Glacier to Lake McDonald Lodge and 5.5 miles between St. Mary and Rising Sun. Other park roads are now closed for the winter and snow will be allowed to accumulate for non-mechanized recreational use such as cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Rehabilitation work on the Sun Road is now finished for the winter; work will resume in spring 2009. Throughout the winter, the National Park Service plows and maintains the west side Sun Road to Lake McDonald Lodge, a distance of 10 miles from West Glacier to Lake McDonald Lodge and from St. Mary entrance to the gate at the St. Mary campground on the east side. Depending upon local road/weather conditions, it is possible to travel further into the park.
Winter road restrictions are now in effect for motorized vehicles on most park road. Park roadways now closed to motorized vehicle traffic include the Camas Road and the Inside North Fork Road between Kintla Lake and Fish Creek on the park’s west side as well as the Chief Mountain, Cut Bank, Many Glacier and Two Medicine Roads at the park boundary on the east side.
Winter camping (no water) is available in the park at Apgar Picnic Area and St. Mary Campground. There is no cost for winter camping; however, a valid entrance pass is required.
Winter backcountry travelers are reminded that backcountry permits are required for all overnight backcountry trips. Winter permits are available, at no charge, Mondays through Fridays at park headquarters, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on weekends at the Apgar Visitor Center from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Avalanches are a real danger in the mountainous portions of Glacier. Check www.glacieravalanche.org for the latest avalanche hazard and weather advisory before entering the park’s backcountry.
All park visitors are reminded that even when entrance stations are not staffed, park entrance fees are still required. Upon entering the park, visitors are instructed to follow posted instructions to pay entrance fees at self-pay stations at respective park entrances.
Reduced winter season entrance fees are now in effect (December 1, 2008, through April 30, 2009). Glacier’s winter entrance fee is $15 for vehicles and $10 for single entrants (hiker / bicyclist/motorcyclist) for a seven day pass. These reduced winter fees recognize the limited park services available during winter months.
Annual park passes, which allow visitors unlimited entry to the park for 12 months from the date of purchase, are available for purchase for $35. This fee will remain $35 for 2009. Annual park passes may be purchased at park headquarters on weekdays and at the West Glacier entrance station on weekends.
The Apgar Visitor Center is open weekends throughout the winter through the end of April 2009. It is open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., visitors may obtain information and assistance at park headquarters in West Glacier.
Park visitors are reminded that although these winter activities are free, valid park entry is required. Even when entrance stations are not staffed, park entrance fees are required. Upon entering the park, visitors are directed to follow posted instructions to pay entrance fees at self-pay stations. Glacier’s winter entrance fee is $15 for vehicles and $10 for single entrants (hiker/bicyclist/motorcyclist) for a seven day pass. The winter entrance fee is $15 for a seven-day single vehicle entry. Annual park passes, valid for unlimited visits to Glacier National Park for 12 months from the date of purchase, are also available for $35.
Current road conditions, updated as conditions change, are available on the park’s Web site at 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 road and weather information, visit Glacier’s Web site (www.nps.gov/glac) or call 406-888-7800.
- NPS -