Posts tagged: Glacier Park
PUBLIC LANDS — Glacier National Park in Montana is open and welcoming visitors today after a 16-day federal government shutdown that closed all national parks across the country.
At Glacier, approximately 250 park employees were furloughed during the shutdown while 20-30 employees continued to work during the shutdown to manage the park closure and provide for protection of federal lands, waterways, buildings, equipment and other property owned within park.
The park’s website and social media sites were reactivated today and barricades at park entrances and throughout the park were removed.
Park road crews began monitoring roads, including conducting a sweep of the Going-to-the-Sun Road to clean debris/rocks from the road. When the road is clear of debris, public access will be available to Big Bend through Sunday, Oct. 20.
Apgar, Bowman Lake, Kintla Lake, Quartz Creek and St. Mary Campgrounds are open to primitive camping.
The Apgar Visitor Center is open every weekend, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Info: 406-888-7800.
PARKS — The first serious bout of winter-like weather has temporarily closed Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road today at The Loop on the west side of the park.
Weather conditions along the higher elevations of the Going-to-the-Sun Road today have included very windy conditions — 30-40 mph at Big Bend — slush and icy conditions on the road, cloudy and limited visibility, and snow accumulations of more than 8 inches at Logan Pass.
Camping conditions suck.
HIKING — Thunder storms throughout the West this week took a heavy toll, setting fires and raising havoc in several ways.
The strangest detail: Hikers in three national parks were injured or killed within a 30-hour period.
See the stories about this week's lightning strike victims in:
Read this story about the serious threat lightning poses and precautions hikers and campers can take.
HIKING — A Washington man hiking early season in Glacier National Park slipped on a snowfield and fell about 100 feet to his death on Wednesday.
Charles Fred Huseman of Packwood died from trauma suffered in the fall from the Highline Trail, which was still closed because of the snow patches leading to steep dropoffs.
Witnesses told park rangers that Huseman was hiking the trail when he slid on a snow field and fell, landing along the Going-to-the-Sun Road about a mile west of Logan Pass. Huseman died at the scene.
Comment: An ice ax is essential equipment for hiking high slopes and passes early in the season.
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.
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:
WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — Trail ride wrangler Erin Bolster and her famous steed, Tonk, were greeting fans at the Western Montana Fair in Missoula last week to celebrate the 1st anniversary of their heroic encounter with a grizzly bear.
Bolster and Tonk rode into the national spotlight after repeatedly charging a grizzly that had burst into a trail ride Bolster was leading near Glacier National Park. As the bear chased a horse carrying a terrified 8-year-old boy through the timber, Bolster was able to get Tonk to overcome fleeing instincts and charge the grizzly into submission.
My story about the encounter last summer swept across the nation and landed Bolster — Tonk, too! — in New York for Late Night with David Letterman.
Bolster said she's met a lot of people and had many career opportunities because of the favorable response to the fame she and Tonk have garnered.
This summer, however, she's been living mostly in a tent near the Flathead National Forest, leading trail rides for the flood of people young and old who've booked trips in anticipation of touching the horse flesh of a hero.
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.
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 — You think the late spring that continuted into summer screwed up some of your plans?
How abou Jake Bramante, the young Missoulian who dedicated this season to becoming the first person to hike all 734 miles of trails in Glacier National Park in a single season?
It's August and snow still clogs many high-country trails.
A story is coming in Sunday outdoors, but check out's Jake's video introduction to his quest (above), and follow his blogs and tweets online.
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…
NATIONAL PARKS – The late spring and heavy snowpack has been a downer for visitation to Glacier National Park.
The National Park Service reports 266,263 people entered the park in June, down 21 percent compared to June 2010.
Of course, the park attracted record crowds last year because of centennial celebration activities.
But Going-to-the-Sun Road over Logan Pass didn’t open until July 13 this year, the latest opening on record.
Deep snow in the higher elevations is still blocking popular trails.
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.
NATIONAL PARKS — On Wednesday, all 50 miles of the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road opened to the public and the crowds turned out in droves, heralding the official start to summer in this northern region.
The Sun Road's opening was highly anticipated, according to a story in the Missoulian.
The July 13 opening marks the second-latest opening date in the scenic drive's 78-year history, and the latest it's ever opened due to winter weather, the evidence of which was superabundant Wednesday.
Throughout the morning and afternoon, park rangers delivered informational lectures to visitors curious about the status of Glacier National Park's glaciers, which are quickly disappearing due to the effects of global climate change. A snow-covered Mount Clements and a towering wall of snow provided the backdrop to those climate change talks, called “Goodbye to Glaciers.”
“It's always a tough sell when you're standing beside a giant snowdrift like this,” ranger Megan Chaisson said.
NATIONAL PARKS — Glacier National Park officials have announced they expect entire 50 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road to be clear of snow and available for vehicle traffic on Wednesday.
This will be the second latest opening of the road and one of only three seasons in which the famous road over Logan Pass has not been open for the Fourth of July holiday.
A flyover of the Big Drift at Logan Pass on June 4th revealed a snowpack over the pavement was about 30 feet deep and looking more like April than June, officials said, noting that this amount of snow at this time of year is unprecedented.
The Highline Trail remains closed at this time no opening date is projected yet.
For current information on park roads and weather conditions, and visitor services throughout the park, visit Glacier's website www.nps.gov/glac,