From a note posted by Glacier Park . . .
Good news! U.S. Highway 2 reopened at 6 a.m. today, with pilot cars escorting traffic between mileposts 176.5 at Schellinger and 185 at Bear Creek. Escorted vehicles are not allowed to stop in this area. Call 1-800-226-7623 or 511 or visit http://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/alerts.shtml for current road status.
BNSF trains and Amtrak are running intermittently. For more information on Amtrak call (800) 872-7245.
Jeff Mow, Superintendent of Glacier National Park, reiterated the park’s opposition to North Fork Road paving and expressed a lot of concern over the safety of oil shipments along the park’s boundary . . .
Glacier National Park superintendent Jeff Mow said last week he is not in favor of paving the North Fork Road to the Camas Road, a project strongly supported by Columbia Falls city officials.
The goal of paving the North Fork Road has been debated for years, but now Columbia Falls business and civic leaders are pitching the idea not only to boost tourist traffic through town but as an emergency route for West Glacier in case of a rail disaster.
City leaders told Sen. Jon Tester on March 20 that the Park supports paving the North Fork Road, but Mow disagreed.
Read more . . .
BNSF is getting braced to haul a lot of oil this year . . .
Less than a mile from Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow’s office is one of America’s fastest growing pipelines for Bakken crude oil: BNSF Railway.
Oil trains have become a common sight in West Glacier and the Flathead Valley, due in large part to the oil boom in North Dakota and Eastern Montana. Recently, BNSF CEO Matt Rose said his 32,000-mile railroad was projected to haul 1 million barrels of oil every day by the end of 2014. According to BNSF, the railroad operates one crude oil train every day through the Flathead Valley to refineries in Washington and Oregon. However, a recent rash of accidents has brought scrutiny to the practice.
Now, the railroad company is preparing a detailed hazardous materials response plan if an oil train were to derail near Glacier National Park. According to spokesperson Matt Jones, the plan will be available to local first responders in the coming weeks.
Read more . . .