NATIONAL PARKS -- Winter has retained its grip on Glacier National Park this week, stalling efforts to clear Going to the Sun Road and turning back cyclists looking for vehicle free riding.
Storms dumped 8 inches of snow in West Glacier and 18 inches in both the higher and lower elevations on the east side.
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The snowpack usually would be leveling off or showing a decrease this time of year, but officials say the Many Glacier snotel site accelerated to 206 percent of normal (water content) in the last couple of weeks.
Avalanche specialists for the Going-to-the-Sun Road recorded 16 feet of snow at the 6,000 foot level along the Garden Wall above the Sun Road.
West Glacier weather records which date back to 1958, show March 2011 as the wettest month on record and April 2011 so far is just shy of the record.
The vehicle gate remains closed at Lake McDonald Lodge and there will be access for hikers and bikers this weekend on the Sun Road. The road is mainly clear of ice to the Logan Creek Comfort Station, approximately 10 miles beyond the Lake McDonald Lodge. The Camas Road will remain closed to vehicle traffic but will provide hiking and biking opportunities.
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Reports on current park road conditions also are available.