Posts tagged: Glacier National Park
NATIONAL PARKS — The entire 50 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is open as of 8:30 a.m. this morning.
See map for highlights of the scenic route over Logan Pass.
Additional information on park roads, weather conditions, and visitor services can be found on Glacier National Park’s website, or by calling park headquarters at 406-888-7800.
NATIONAL PARKS – Access to Logan Pass on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park will be available to vehicle traffic from the east-side of the park the morning of Saturday, June 15, weather dependent.
Vehicles on the west-side of the park can travel as far as Avalanche Creek. All 50 miles of the road is anticipated to be open to vehicle travel by Friday, June 21 at the earliest.
Read on for details.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — A male harlequin duck, known to be at least 17 years old, was recently identified in Glacier National Park by University of Montana researchers and Glacier National Park scientists.
“Prior to these findings, harlequin ducks were reported to live up to only 10 years of age, which makes this finding a positive indicator of the health and longevity of harlequin breeding populations in Glacier National Park,” said Lisa Bate, Glacier Park biological science technician. “Research indicates harlequin ducks mate for life unless something happens to one member of the pair. This old male has returned the last three years with the same female.”
Researchers launched the study in 2011, using radio-telemetry and banding to learn more about the location of harlequin nests and factors affecting offspring survival.
Upper McDonald Creek is considered an important breeding stream for harlequin ducks, comprising 25 percent of known broods produced in Montana. The area also has the highest density of breeding harlequins in the lower 48 states.
About 40 pairs of harlequins in the park are known to be in Glacier Park.
Read on for more detals about the harlequins.
NATIONAL PARKS — Now through the next couple of weeks or so will be prime time for bicyclists to explore portions of Glacier Park's Going to the Sun Highway.
While plowing is underway from both sides toward Logan Pass, motorized traffic is prohibited but bicycles are allowed.
Currently 29.0 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel.
Visitors can drive 15.5 miles from the West Entrance to Avalanche, and 13.5 miles from the St. Mary Entrance to Jackson Glacier Overlook.
Get updates here.
See photos of the brave equipment operators plowing the steep avalanche slopes toward Logan Pass.
OUTDOOR TRAVEL — Two premier outdoor recreation areas within a day’s access from Spokane are listed among the Lonely Planet's Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2013.
The San Juan Islands are No. 3 on the list and dubbed “The Gourmet Archipelago.” The writer notes the three main islands – San Juan, Orcas and Lopez – support two vineyards, a lavender farm, an alpaca ranch and weekend farmers’ markets that ply everything from artichokes to marionberries.”
From the outdoor recreation angle, the islands are standouts for bicycling, sailing and sea kayaking. “Hop on a bike, explore the beaches and enjoy the scenery, but be sure to eat!” the author says, noting several fine restaurants.
Glacier National Park is ranked No. 10 — perhaps a little low from a outdoor enthusiast's point of view, but that’s just as well, considering the Lonely Planet’s top 10 list is viewed by 12 million people a year.
“A relatively new shuttle system offers an eco-friendly alternative. But go soon,” the author warns. “The park’s 25 glaciers are melting – and could be gone altogether by 2030 if current climate changes continue!”
Here's full list of Lonely Planet's Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2013:
NATIONAL PARKS — Glacier National Park officials are planning to open the Going-to-the-Sun Road over 6,646-foot Logan Pass today.
The opening will end the spring grace period when bikers and hikers could much of the 50-mile route motor-vehicle free.
If you're driving to Logan Pass and want to stop and take a hike, bring snowshoes! All the nature trails are covered by snow the Highline Trail from Logan Pass is closed by snow.
The visitor center will be open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The park’s free shuttle system that provides services along Going-to-the-Sun Road will begin running on July 1.
Read on for more details.
NATIONAL PARKS — Logan Pass at the top of Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road likely will be open for vehicle traffic sometime next week, officials say.
A storm last weekend dumped another 10 inches of snow on the park high country prompting additional snow slides on the road and slowing the weeks-long operation.
Since Memorial Day Weekend, at least 35 inches of snow has fallen on the road at higher elevations.
Crews are working on the Big Drift, a 25-30 feet drift about a fourth of a mile east of the Logan Pass Visitor Center.
In addition to all the snow removal, crews have to install hundreds of guard rails along the road.
Currently, 29 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open to vehicle travel. Visitors can drive 15.5 miles from the West Entrance to Avalanche on the west side, and 13.5 miles from the St. Mary Entrance to Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side.
Although park officials had hoped to open just before Father's Day weekend, opening the week after would still be much better than last year's late, late July 13 opening.
Hikers and bicyclists have access to more of the road than motor vehicles as plowing continues.
Click here for Current road status and where you can hike and bike on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
PUBLIC LANDS — Glacier Nationa Park has a special incentive for walkers and cyclists for the next month or so, but especially next week when ntrance fees to Glacier National Park and the nearly 400 National Park Sites across the country will be waived during National Park Week, April 21-29.
At the same time, plows have begun clearing the roads toward Logan Pass. While motor vehicles are still prohibited, bicyclers and walkers can go progressively farther behind the locked gates as plowing advances.
Currently, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is open to motorized traffic from the West Entrance to Lake McDonald Lodge and from the St. Mary Entrance to Rising Sun. Hiker/biker access is available for 5.5 miles from the Lake McDonald Gate to Avalanche while the road plow is working.
This weekend, April 21-22, no restrictions are anticipated for hiker/biker access on the west side or east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The Camas Road is open and the Two Medicine Road on the east side is currently open to Running Eagle Falls.
Weather conditions in the park can vary greatly from local valley locations, and road status can change depending on weather conditions and snow plowing activities.
Click here to check park conditions and the progess of the plows, or call (406) 888-7800.
Additional entrance fee-free dates during the year will be June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), September 29 (National Public Lands Day), and November 10 to 12 (Veterans Day weekend).
NATIONAL PARKS — Glacier National Park's attendance declined 15.7 percent last year after a record number of visitors were logged during the park’s centennial celebration in 2010.
The National Park Service says 1.85 million people entered the park in 2011, compared to 2.2 million the year before.
The park’s peak summer season got off to a slow start because of cold weather from early April through June that delayed snowmelt and the opening of Going-to-the-Sun Road. The road’s July 13 opening at Logan Pass was the latest on record.
The park service says concession lodging in the park was down 22 percent, tent camping was down nearly 6 percent and backcountry overnight stays were down 16 percent. Total overnight stays were down 10.8 percent compared with 2010.
NATIONAL PARKS — The U.S. Postal Service is featuring an image of Logan Pass in Glacier National Park on an international rate postage stamp to be issued starting Jan. 19.
The stamp was designed by art director Ethel Kessler, based on an image taken by National Geographic photographer Michael Melford.
The image shows Logan Pass, the highest point along the park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road. Melting snowbanks reveal a meadow against a backdrop of Glacier peaks.
The 85-cent stamp is part of the Postal Service’s “Scenic American Landscapes” series.
WINTER SPORTS — A 32-year-old Whitefish man is in the running to be named the “Ultimate Ski Bum,” a title that comes with a prize package worth about $30,000, the Associated Press reports.
His resume includes sking about 150 days a year, about 70 at Whitefish Mountain Resort and another 80 in the surrounding backcountry.
Craig Moore recently became one of 10 finalists for the title that’s being sponsored by the Kootenay Rockies tourism board in British Columbia. Moore has skied at least one day every month for the last four years and beat out about 300 other wanna-be ski bums through online voting.
His next step is to submit a 90-second video (click above) showing him at his ski-bum best and why he deserves the title. A winner will be announced Dec. 14. The winner receives a pack of eight season passes to ski areas in British Columbia, along with helicopter trips, lodging, gas and a rental car for three months.
“It would be a pretty regimented winter,” said Moore, a member of the Flathead Nordic Backcountry Ski Patrol. “I would have to take a three-month sabbatical from Whitefish and spend three months up north, which I would have absolutely no problem doing.”
Skiing 150 days a year for the past two years was part of his plan to see if he could ski at least once every month within about 100 miles of Whitefish.
“I was just curious, ‘Is this something I could do?”’ he said. “I figured it would be a good personal project.”
This month he reached 48 months in a row, during that time skiing throughout Glacier National Park, as well as in the Swan range and Whitefish range.
Watch the video clip of Erin Bolster and Tonk on Late Night with David Letterman. The full segment will be broadcast tonight on CBS:
Fans of heroes, horses, wranglers and grizzly bears will get it all in one package tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Trail riding guide Erin Bolster and her horse from Whitefish, Mont., are being featured on the CBS talk show after a Sept. 18 Spokesman-Review feature trotted the duo into the national spotlight.
“How can you not love this story?” Letterman says as he introduces Bolster in a show taped earlier today. The host praised the 25-year-old wrangler who leveraged her own bravery as she convinced the horse to save a child by charging a grizzly bear head on.
Bolster had been acquainted with the leased horse from the Swan Mountain Outfitters stock pool for only two months.
“Our first guest showed remarkable courage when she and her horse, Tonk, rescued a young boy from a 750-pound grizzly bear – 750 pound grizzly bear: that’s like (all the people in) Row 2,” Letterman says, pointing to the audience.
In the interview, Bolster says Tonk initially “didn’t want to be there” when the grizzly ran into her group of eight trail riders.
The bear was chasing a deer. But when the deer escaped in the pandemonium of panicking horses, the grizzly continued its pursuit – bearing down on a fleeing horse carrying Ian Turner, an 8-year-old guest from northern California.
Horse experts have marveled at Bolster’s ability to get Tonk to overcome his natural instinct to run away from the danger. With Bolster’s heels in his ribs, the large Percheron (draft horse) mix, wheeled around and charged the bear three times before driving it away from the boy and the other horse.
“Erin was just awesome,” said Greg Turner, the boy’s father. “I can't say enough good things about her.”
Tonk reacts similarly when Letterman introduces him to the nation on tonight's show. That is, when the studio audience roars with applause, Tonk initially wants to head for the barn.
“Must be a bear on 53rd Street,” Letterman says as the huge white horse pivots and moons the crowd.
But Bolster composes the horse, holds his head tight to her shoulder and confirms that she bought Tonk after his heroic performance against the bear.
“He’s my boy now,” she says, to the crowd’s approval.
“Lovely story,” Letterman says. “And take good care of this guy.”
“Wow. That was awesome,” Bolster said in a Facebook post after taping the show this afternoon. “Tonk tried his very hardest to be a good boy. He was so cute… love him.”
Ian Turner, 8, of northern California is pictured here on a horse named Scout on July 30, 2011, shortly before they were chased by a grizzly bear on a trail ride with Swan Mountain Outfitters near Glacier National Park. Wrangler Erin Bolster and her horse, Tonk, rode to his rescue, challenging the bear until it ran off.
Here's what Ian's dad has to say, as posted on the Swan Mountain Outfitters Facebook page:
My name is Greg. My son Ian is the unnamed 8 year old. Erin was just awesome. I can't say enough good things about her. Even aside from her chasing down Ian and Scout, you could not do better by having Erin as your guide. Although, could someone tell Scout not to be chasing bears? :-). Thank you again Erin, you are awesome. Someone was watching out for us all that day.
GREAT STORIES — If you like heroes, horses, blonde horse wranglers and grizzly bears, tune in to the Late Show with David Letterman tonight.
My Outdoors feature story last month, “Gutsy wrangler, huge horse, save boy from charging grizzly” struck a chord with Spokesman-Review readers –and then spread to readers across the continent like jet-propelled stallions.
The news didn't escape Letterman, who owns a Montana ranch near Choteau. Letterman's handlers shipped both the wrangler and the horse from Whitefish to New York. Tonk was chauffeured on a five-day expedition in a comfort-controlled van with breaks every three hours or so.
The 25-year-old wrangler and her horse are scheduled to be taping two segments today for the show that airs tonight. Bolster and her huge Percheron mix horse will be sharing the show with actor Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller's Day Off).
The story of Erin Bolster and Tonk riding herd on a grizzly bear near Glacier National Park went viral on the Internet, capturing the hearts of a country with an appetite for heroes, horses and potential tragedies with happy endings – for both the people and the bear.
The family of the 8-year-old California boy Erin rescued from the bear posted high praise for the Virginia-born wrangler on the Swan Mountain Outfitters Facebook page:
My name is Greg (Turner). My son Ian is the unnamed 8 year old. Erin was just awesome. I can't say enough good things about her. Even aside from her chasing down Ian and Scout, you could not do better by having Erin as your guide. Although, could someone tell Scout not to be chasing bears? :-). Thank you again Erin, you are awesome. Someone was watching out for us all that day.
Nearly 100,000 people a day were viewing the story on The Spokesman-Review site alone in the few days after it was published after Google added the link to its News Spotlight list. Now the story has all over North America and readership is in the millions.
Click here for the follow up story after her appearance with Letterman.
Notes from previous blog posts:
“It’s been crazy,” said Bolster from her home in Whitefish, Mont., noting that she’s been interviewed by numerous publications, TV and radio since the S-R story went wild.
She’s also received marriage proposals, job offers and made a lot of new Facebook friends.
She’s set up an account for the many people who’ve offered to chip in for Tonk’s winter boarding, since there’s no bigger hero in this story than the burly white Percheron mix. I've attached it to my Sunday story.
At first, she said she was going out and giving Tonk a carrot every time something new and good came back as more people read the story.
But at the rate it's been going, Tonk was goingto get fat and the pasture was going to be full of orange muffins if she didn't scale back.
GREAT OUTDOOR STORIES — Here's latest update from Erin Bolster, the wrangler who rode her horse to the rescue of a boy being charged by a grizzly bear:
I just wanted to let you know, Letterman has been moved to the 11th. They decided they really wanted Tonk out there and they want to make him and me a bigger feature. So, in order to allow Tonk a more relaxed 5-day trip to NYC (in his own climate controlled van no less) and to schedule me on a date when they could allot me two segments, the producer set us to film and air on Oct. 11th. I'm quite excited and I think Tonk will be a real treat on camera.
WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — My Sunday story about a female wrangler, her horse and their showdown with a grizzly bear has generating numerous emails from people for a wide range of reasons.
Some are simply glad to finally hear some positive news about people and their encounters with grizzlies this year, especially when the story was positive for both the people and the bear.
Others — and not just the many horse women out there — are bolstered by Bolster's courage, poise and determination.
A few wonder if that horse, Tonk, is for sale.
But I have to tell you, after I interviewed Bolster, I came home for dinner and told my wife her tale. When the tears started rolling down her cheeks, my instincts were confirmed: This is a good story.
HIKING –A grizzly bear attacked a hiker around noon today on the trail from Many Glacier to Piegan Pass in Glacier National Park. The hiker was able to walk to assistance after the being bitten multiple times.
The 50-year male hiker from St. Paul, Minnesota was hiking alone when he rounded a bend in the trail and encountered a sow grizzly with one sub-adult, park officials say. The hiker was carrying bear spray, but was unable to deploy it before the bear attacked.
The hiker sustained bites to his left thigh and left forearm, before the bear grabbed his foot, shook him, released him and left the area, the park report says.
The man hiked back toward Many Glacier encountering a naturalist ranger leading a hike. The ranger notified dispatch while the man continued to the Many Glacier Ranger Station where he was treated for his injuries and then transported to the Blackfeet Community Hospital in Browning by the Babb Ambulance.
Initial reports indicated the hiker was making noise as he hiked.
The trail from Piegan Pass to Feather Plum Falls is closed at this time, and rangers are investigating the incident.
Glacier National Park is grizzly and black bear country. Park officials advice hikers to carry bear spray, know how to use it, and have it on a pack strap ready for immediate use.
Hikers are also encouraged to hike in groups and make noise when hiking.
HIKING – Glacier National Park rangers are warning hikers to think like mountaineers in their preparation for trekking high-elevation trails — much as I suggested from my recent experience in this morning's post.
As they opened the popular Highline Trail at Logan Pass to foot travel they offered timely advice to hikers who might venture on the still-snow-patched trail. Read on…
HIKING — The Inland Northwest has logged the fourth death this season of a hiker/climber who died after slipping on snow slopes
On Monday, a hiker on a steep snow field on Glacier National Park's Grinnell Glacier Trail slipped and slid downhill 50-100 feet. Initial reports from park officials indicate he suffered head injuries and died.
The hiker has been identified as Nicholas Ryan, 30, from Omaha, Nebraska.
The death is the latest in a troubling series of fatalities. Some of them seem to have a link to the late-lingering snowpack that's left more snow to negotiate in the high country and a longer period of high, swift and cold water in the rivers below.
A 55-year-old Lake Stevens man died Saturday when he fell from a ridge in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness west of Leavenworth. It's the second death in the Alpine Lakes this season.
The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office says Thomas Vietti was traversing a ridge on the west side of a lake lake below Big Jim Mountain. He apparently lost his footing as he was maneuvering around a large rock.
On July 3, a 21-year-old woman lost control while glissading on a snow slope and fell to her death in an icy crevasse in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. That's two similar type fatal accidents in one month in one Washington wilderness. In addition, a woman climbing Mount Baker slid and fell to her death July 2.
In 34 years of covering the Inland Northwest outdoors beat, the spring-summer of 2011 stands out as one of the most deadly periods for the region's outdoors enthusiasts.
A climber slid to her death this month died this month on Mount Baker.
As today's front page S-R story pointed out, around two dozen drownings have been reported, including at least six — from the Wenatchee to the Blackfoot, Lochsa, Salmon and Owyhee — involving rafters in full whitewater gear and PFDs.
One accident that wasn't specifically mentioned in that story involved a 14 year old girl who drown May 25 after the canoe she was paddling with her brother capsized in the cold, swift spring waters of the Kettle River. Stevens County Sheriff's officers said her brother, who survived, was wearing a life jacket. She was not.
NATIONAL PARKS — The Going to the Sun Road has been open for three days and the scenery's fantastic.
But the photo gives you a hint of what it's like at the top of Logan Pass.