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Contact: Denise Germann, 406-888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MT. – The St. Mary Visitor Center on the east side of Glacier National Park has reopened. The visitor center was temporarily closed since yesterday, July 24, due to a furnace malfunction and water sprinkler system activation.
Visitor services including information, back country permits and boat inspections, are available inside the lobby of the St Mary Visitor Center. The interpretive exhibits and the sales area managed by the Glacier National Park Conservancy are open, and phone service has been restored to the building. The daily film viewings are not available at this time, as some areas of the building remain closed, including the auditorium.
The Blackfeet Singers and Dancers, part of the Native America Speaks program, scheduled for Wednesday, July 30 may be relocated to another location. Please visit the park's website at http://home.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/upload/Native-America-Speaks-2014.pdf or contact the visitor center at 406-732-7750 for updated information.
Park rangers responded to an alarm at the visitor center at approximately 4 a.m. on July 24th. The visitor center furnace malfunctioned and the water sprinkler system activated. There was water damage to the building and contents, as well as to some of the utilities.
Contractors and park employees worked all day and most of the night on Thursday, July 24, to access the situation, remove office equipment and furniture, remove water and dry out the area. Some park employee offices have been relocated to the park administrative area nearby. A variety of office equipment, furniture and computers will need to be replaced, as well as some drywall and flooring, due to water damage. Some sales inventory materials of the Glacier National Park Conservancy were also affected.
It is anticipated that the furnace may need to be replaced because several of the internal safety mechanisms failed to properly shut off the heat. The park is also considering some possible electrical upgrades to increase safety measures.