HIKING -- The advance reservation system for backcountry camping in Glacier National Park is being upgraded and changed for 2016.
The new online application and payment system will replace the advance reservation lottery system that has been in place since 2003.
The new system will offer earlier reservation submittal dates, more choices to customize itineraries, and a first-come, first-served reservation system.
The new online system is anticipated to go live on March 15 at 7 a.m. PST for groups of 1-8 campers. This is one month earlier than the previous system.
A separate application for large groups, 9-12 campers, will be available online with an anticipated March 1 start date. The park issues up to five large group reservations per year.
No applications will be accepted in January as the past system allowed. Applicants should expect a one month period between application submittal and notification of permit status.
The online reservation application will look similar to the old paper form, and will include links to application tutorials, park backcountry maps, and additional backcountry campground information.
All advance reservation applications and processing fees will be submitted using the Pay.Gov website.
Each application will have a non-refundable $10 processing fee and each successful request will have a $30 fee. The camping fee per night has increased from $5 to $7 per night.
Park officials say all backcountry permit revenue is used to fund the management and staffing of the park’s backcountry permit offices and program.