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Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
Contact: Wade Muehlhof, 406 888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park officials today announced that accelerated rehabilitation on Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) starts at midnight, September 19, 2010. Starting Monday, September 20, west side fall motor vehicle access will be restricted at Avalanche. Logan Pass will remain accessible for motor vehicle traffic from the east side, weather permitting, until the pass is closed for the season to all vehicle traffic on Monday, October 18. Hikers are advised that after this weekend (beginning September 20), no vehicles will be allowed to access the Loop or Packer's Roost trailheads.
Park Chief of Maintenance Jim Foster stresses that, "Throughout the ongoing Sun Road rebuilding, park visitors will continue to have access to Logan Pass during the fall season, weather permitting, from one side until the third Monday in October, which is October 18 this year."
This year's accelerated fall Sun Road work will focus between Logan Creek and the West Tunnel and between Big Bend and Logan Pass. Work will also continue this fall between Siyeh Bend and Logan Pass while allowing vehicle access from the east side. The 2003 NPS and Federal Highway Administration's Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) preferred alternative allows "shared use" of the Sun Road with short delays and two-way traffic during Glacier's core season, mid-June to mid-September. This alternative which also was supported by the Going-to-the-Sun Road Citizen Advisory Committee allows for accelerated work on sections of the road, before and after the core season, as weather permits.
"Glacier National Park remains open year round even though through traffic across Logan Pass will end for the season at midnight on Sunday, September 19," said Park superintendent Chas Cartwright. "Park and Federal Highway Administration managers are very aware of the inconvenience to shoulder season travelers; however, the fall season is the primary opportunity for Sun Road contractors to make progress on the rehabilitation. He added, "In addition to other funding sources, we've been extremely fortunate to receive stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that are allowing us to make great progress on rehabilitation of the most challenging sections of the Sun Road. The narrow and precipitous alpine portions of the road are in the greatest need of rebuilding and create the greatest challenge to managing visitor traffic. Anyone who has traveled the Sun Road can attest to this reality."
"Autumn visitors to Glacier National Park are rewarded with lack of crowds, cooler temperatures, and changing vegetation colors. Area residents and visitors are also reminded that Glacier National Park is open year-round and many park recreational opportunities exist during all seasons," said Cartwright.
Fall visitors can travel between east and west side destinations in Glacier National Park by driving U.S. Highways 2, 49, and 89 along the southern and eastern borders of the park, respectively. Two of these highways are maintained and open year round; Highway 49 (Looking Glass Highway) is closed to vehicle traffic during winter months.
Beginning Monday, September 20, 2010:
* West side Sun Road will remain open for vehicle traffic 16 miles between West Glacier and Avalanche. Avalanche to Logan Pass will be closed to motor vehicular traffic for the remainder of the fall season.
* West side vehicle gate will be located at Avalanche.
* Hiker and bicycle access will be allowed beyond the Avalanche barricade, but will be dependent on road work conditions. There will be advanced signage detailing how far access is available. As work conditions permit, weekend access will also be allowed for hikers and bicyclists.
* East side Sun Road remains open to vehicle traffic (including Logan Pass) for the fall season (until Monday, October 18, 2010) unless closed to vehicle traffic by snow accumulation and/or hazardous driving conditions.
* Expect delays of no more than 30 minutes due to continued road work between Siyeh Bend and Logan Pass. Parking will be available at Siyeh Bend through Sunday, October 17, weather permitting. There will be no fall night work in this area.
Beginning Monday, October 18, 2010:
* East side (Jackson Glacier Overlook to Logan Pass) will close to vehicular traffic for the remainder of the season.
* East side (St. Mary to Jackson Glacier Overlook) will remain open for motor vehicle traffic until closed because of snow accumulation and/or hazardous driving conditions.
Autumn hikers and bicyclists are strongly urged to make sure they are familiar with safety precautions while traveling in bear country and be prepared for variable temperatures and rapidly changing weather. For trail maps and status, visit Glacier's Hiking the Trails Web page at: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm. Bear safety recommendations and other park safety information can be found at: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/yoursafety.htm.
Many park facilities and services remain available well beyond September 20. For details, go to http://www.nps.gov/glac/parknews/news10-80.htm. Privately-owned lodging and other visitor services are available in the park at Apgar Village and in gateway communities throughout the fall, winter and spring.
Many campgrounds in Glacier are transitioning to primitive status (no running water available). For more information, go to http://www.nps.gov/glac/parknews/news10-79.htm.
Current road status is available at: http://www.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm.Road conditions for Glacier National Park are available by calling 511, the Montana Department of Transportation Traveler Information System. If a phone does not support 511, call 800-226-7623. Both numbers are toll-free. Select "Glacier Park Tourist Information" (option # 5) from the menu.
For other park information, visit Glacier's Web site at http://www.nps.gov/glac or call 406-888-7800.
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