Spring safety reminders for Glacier Park visitors — and national forest lands, too

Glacier Park has a lengthy press release about visitor safety during the spring. Much of it is good advice for people visiting national forest lands, too, especially backcountry areas . . .

The transition from winter to spring at Glacier National Park is happening, offering some popular recreational opportunities, as well as some challenges and hazards.

Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow said, “Visitors are encouraged to plan ahead and prepare for a visit to the park this spring. Visitors may encounter snow, cold and swift-running waters and changing weather conditions, as well as spectacular vistas and wildlife viewing opportunities.”

Snow accumulations across the park are above average and there is still much snow at the higher elevations and locations on the east side of the park. Many areas in the park are prone to avalanches and snow slides, so caution should be used in these areas, including along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

As the snow begins to melt, the rivers and streams begin to fill. The water is extremely cold and fast moving. Use caution when crossing or stepping near bodies of water, and be alert to areas with snow as thin snow bridges can be hazardous. Listen for muffled sound of running water under snow, moats, and avoid stepping onto snow cornices. River users should be cautious of avalanche debris along and in the rivers, and always wear a life jacket when boating.

Hikers and climbers visiting some of the higher elevations in the park should expect snow and ice, and be prepared for changing weather conditions. It is important to know the terrain you are about to hike or climb, and carry the appropriate equipment. When hiking may include snowfield travel, visitors should know how to travel in such challenging conditions, including knowing how to use crampons, ice axe and appropriate avalanche gear.

Layers of clothing, extra clothing and appropriate footwear are encouraged, as well as water, snacks and a map. It is a good idea to have a first-aid kit available, and always communicate to someone your planned route of travel and your expected time of return.

Since the park is home to black and grizzly bears, park visitors should be alert for spring bear activity and be familiar with responsible actions to maintain human and bear safety…

Read more . . .