September 14, 2010 in Outdoors, Region

At 100, Glacier National Park is tourism hot spot

Associated Press
 
A close call
Worker rescued after 100-foot fall in Glacier Park

A 33-year-old construction worker from Coeur d’Alene is recovering after he and the small excavator he was operating fell down a steep embankment next to Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Park officials say Wainuma Ned was moving rocks about a mile east of Logan Pass at about 9:30 a.m. Monday when the excavator became unbalanced and fell from the road.

Witnesses say Ned jumped clear of the equipment as it fell over the edge, and he free-fell about 35 feet before sliding another 65 feet down a scree field. The excavator tumbled about 200 feet farther down to the bottom of the scree field.

Ned was conscious throughout the accident and rescue. He was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Kalispell. The extent of his injuries is unclear.

KALISPELL, Mont. — Glacier National Park is seeing a near record number of visitors during its centennial year.

The Daily Inter Lake reports nearly 633,000 people visited Glacier in August, up 16.8 percent over August 2009.

A total of 1.68 million people visited in June, July and August, up from 1.64 million during the same period last year.

And through the first eight months of 2010, 1.8 million people visited Glacier National Park. The busiest year on record was in 1983, when Glacier attracted a total of 2.2 million visitors.

Superintendent Chas Cartwright says he believes the park’s centennial events played a part in attracting tourists despite major construction work being done on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

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