Tag Archives: Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park Announces Plans for 2022 Ticket System

Going-to-the-Sun Road
Going-to-the-Sun Road

From today’s press release . . .

WEST GLACIER, Mont. [December 13, 2021] – Visitors to Glacier National Park in 2022 can expect to use a ticket system to access portions of the park from May 27 through September 11, 2022.

This will be the second year of the pilot ticket system in the park, designed to manage high traffic volumes within the park and avoid gridlock.

  • To alleviate congestion, one ticket per vehicle will again be required to enter the Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) at the West Entrance, St. Mary Entrance, and the new Camas Entrance.
  • In 2022, a ticket per vehicle will also be required at the Polebridge Ranger Station to visit the North Fork area of the park.
  • The GTSR and North Fork tickets will be two separate tickets. The park anticipates a portion of tickets becoming available by early March. Like last year, visitors will need to set up an account on Recreation.gov to obtain tickets. Although the park does not charge for the tickets, Recreation.gov charges a $2 nonrefundable service fee.
  • Tickets will not be required at the St. Mary Entrance prior to the full opening of the GTSR, typically in late June. Once snow removal and road preparations are complete and the road opens to vehicle traffic to Logan Pass, tickets will be required at the St. Mary entrance through September 11, 2022.
  • The park will offer three-day tickets for GTSR rather than the seven-day ticket offered last year, and one-day tickets for the North Fork.
  • The Apgar and Sprague Creek campgrounds will require advance reservations in addition to Fish Creek and St. Mary campgrounds. Reservations will be available on Recreation.gov in 2022. Rising Sun and Avalanche campgrounds will remain first come, first served. The park anticipates all campgrounds to be operating in 2022.

The 2021 pilot of the ticket system successfully reduced traffic on GTSR during peak hours and circumvented the need to fully close access to GTSR due to congestion an estimated 35 times. This was a major accomplishment despite 2021 visitation numbers currently boasting the second highest on record for the park. Avoiding gridlock also ensured access to emergency vehicles and prevented severe vehicle back-ups onto Highway 2 outside the park.

In addition to the ticket, each vehicle entering the park is required to have an entrance pass for any entry point into the park. These passes could include any one of the following: a $35 vehicle pass, good for seven days; a valid Interagency Annual/Lifetime Pass; or a Glacier National Park Annual Pass.

Visitors with lodging, camping, transportation, or commercial activity reservations within the GTSR corridor can use their reservation for entry in lieu of a $2 ticket. (The North Fork area does not offer lodging, transportation or commercial services, and camping is first come, first served.)

Park shuttles will operate in 2022. Service levels are still to be determined.

The park anticipates continued congestion at Two Medicine and Many Glacier. As in past years, entry will be temporarily restricted when these areas reach capacity. Visitors are encouraged to plan their visit outside of peak hours (10:00 am to 2:00 pm). Visitors with service reservations (e.g. boat tours, lodging, horseback ride, guided hikes) in these valleys will be permitted entry during temporary restrictions.

Park staff are currently working on details for a utility project this summer that may require the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road to be closed at night, except for emergency vehicles. More details on this project will be forthcoming, but visitors should anticipate a late night through early morning closure from Apgar to Lake McDonald Lodge from June to September.

Recreation.gov is the designated partner of 12 federal agencies for making reservations at 4,200 facilities and activities, and over 113,000 individual reservable sites across the country. While they are a close partner, their website is not operated by Glacier National Park.

Additional details about the ticketed system are still in development. The park website will provide updates as more information becomes available.

North Fork presentation on Glacier Park’s 2022 ticketed entry plans, Dec 13, 10am

As many of you have already heard, Glacier National Park is extending their ticketed entry system to cover the North Fork Entrance for the 2022 tourist season. Representatives will present information on the park’s traffic management plans, including North Fork-specific details, at 10:00am on Monday, December 13 at Home Ranch Bottoms (HRB).

There’s not much room at HRB and COVID is still an issue, so this will be a “hybrid” meeting, mostly handled online via Zoom, with a small number of presenters and representatives physically present. Here’s the Zoom meeting information:

Time: Dec 13, 2021 10:00 AM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 823 6703 5408
Passcode: 822241

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Kate Hammond named Glacier Park’s interim superintendent

Kate Hammond
Kate Hammond

Kate Hammond, deputy regional director for the National Park Service’s intermountain region, will be Glacier Park’s interim superintendent…

Glacier National Park has named a temporary successor to replace outgoing Superintendent Jeff Mow, who recently announced his retirement from the park’s top administrative position, which he’s held since 2013.

Kate Hammond, who since 2016 has served as the National Park Service’s deputy regional director of the intermountain region, supervising park units in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico, and who formerly worked as superintendent at Little Bighorn Battlefield Center in Montana and at Valley Forge National Historical Park near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will assume the interim position after the new year, when Mow’s retirement takes effect.

Although Mow will retire as chief of Glacier Park, he spent the summer on a temporary detail overseeing the National Park Service’s Alaska region, an administrative maneuvering that came just as the agency’s Crown Jewel debuted its controversial new ticketed entry system.

Read more . . .

Glacier Park lynx survey complete; data analysis begins

An image of a lynx captured by a trail camera during a three-year population survey recently completed by researches in Glacier National ParkA three-year Glacier Park lynx population survey just finished up and researchers are now looking at what the data tells them . . .

Like fur-covered ghosts they silently stalk the forests of Glacier National Park.

Little is known about the population of Canada Lynx — rarely glimpsed by visitors — that make the Crown of the Continent their home, but a recently completed three-year scientific study is hoping to change that.

The first-ever comprehensive lynx population survey in the park, funded by the Glacier National Park Conservancy and conducted in collaboration with Alissa Anderson, John Waller and Dr. Dan Thornton, hopes to finally shed light on mysterious feline’s population densities and preferred habitat inside Glacier National Park…

Continue reading . . .

Glacier National Park: Mapping Threats to Wilderness Character

Mountain edge in foreground (Tinkham Mountain) with glacier in background (Pumpelly Glacier) - Glacier NP, Jacob W. Frank
Mountain edge in foreground (Tinkham Mountain) with glacier in background (Pumpelly Glacier) – Glacier NP, Jacob W. Frank

OK. this is pretty impressive. Below is the lead-in to an excellent story by the Missoulian’s inimitable Rob Chaney about a mapping study just completed by Brad Blickhan and Jillian McKenna concerning the wilderness character of Glacier National Park. If you can’t get past the newspaper’s paywall, just jump straight to the study’s immersive web page. You won’t regret it . . .

Two things about Glacier National Park might seem obvious but aren’t. First, for all its million wild acres of peaks and lakes, Glacier is not legally wilderness. And second, for all the satellites, traffic counters, lidar scanners and other gizmos monitoring activity in the park, we don’t have a good measuring stick showing how its wild qualities have changed over time…

Which brings us to that measuring stick and Brad Blickhan, Glacier’s wilderness and wild and scenic river corridor manager. Blickhan and colleague Jillian McKenna spent much of last year developing a “wilderness character” analysis of the park…

Read more . . .

Teagan Tomlin presents “The Geologic Story of Glacier National Park”, July 25, 7:30pm

Teagan Tomlin presents “The Geologic Story of Glacier National Park”
Saturday, July 25th at 7:30 pm (right after the NFPA annual meeting at 6:45pm)

St. Mary Lake

Teagan Tomlin studied Geology at BYU where she earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Geology. She is a former intern with the Geological Society of America where she began interpreting the geology of Glacier National Park in 2008. She currently works in Glacier as the Executive Assistant in the Superintendent’s Office and continues to assist with geology interpretation and training interpretive rangers. Her presentation features some of the most magnificent footage and fascinating story-lines of earth’s unbelievable journey.

The presentation is preceded by the annual meeting of The North Fork Preservation Association at 6:45pm. The meeting will be held at the property of NFPA board member Roger Sullivan. He is located 3.5 miles south of Polebridge at 9305 North Fork Road. (A “NFPA” sign will be posted at his driveway.) The entire event will be outdoors, and masks will be required. Don’t forget your lawn chair and any personal refreshments you’d like. Our traditional potluck will be postponed due to, well, you know what. Lastly, NFPA t-shirts will be for sale for $20 each and membership dues can be paid. Hope to see you there.

Federal court orders Glacier Park, 22 others, to make air tour management plans

Glacier Park and 22 other national parks is being forced to devise a formal air tour management plan . . .

A federal appeals court has ordered Glacier National Park along with 22 other national parks to come up with an air tour management plan with the federal Aviation Administration within two years.

The May 1 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is in response to a lawsuit filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

“For almost 20 years, the FAA and the NPS have allowed an airborne reign of terror to go unmitigated over park skies,” PEER attorney Paula Dinerstein, who argued the case before the court said. “PEER will work with affected communities and parks to, at long last, develop responsible air tour management plans.”

The Air Tour Management Act of 2000 requires vendors who wish to conduct commercial air tours over certain national parks and tribal lands to first obtain a permit from the FAA.

Read more . . .

Citizen science opportunities and trainings announced for 2019

From a Glacier Park news release . . .

Citizen Science Opportunities and Trainings Announced for 2019
Public Invited to Participate in Wildlife and Plant Research

West Glacier, MT –This summer, the public is invited to help the park track and study important species of concern through its citizen science program. The program allows participants to explore the park and learn about important park resources while collecting valuable data for park managers.

One citizen scientist said the experience was an “excuse to go into the park, sit down for an hour and just search with scope and binoculars—the greatest and most effective and cost-efficient therapy out there!”

Participants can help out with several projects on an ongoing basis, or attend a one-time citizen science event.

Citizen Science Projects

People who would like to collect data on a variety of species of concern and can commit to completing a minimum of three surveys should sign-up for a one-day training session to learn how to identify, observe, and record species information.

Once trained, citizen scientists are free to collect data during their own scheduled hiking trips in the park. Please contact the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at Glac_Citizen_Science@nps.gov or 406-888-7986 to sign-up for training or for more information.

Scheduled training dates for all ongoing citizen science projects are listed below. Additional training sessions may be scheduled based on interest.

–      Common Loon Citizen Science

Gather information on the distribution and reproduction of common loons to understand more about population trends and nesting success.

West Glacier training dates:  May 7, May 14, June 27, July 9

St. Mary training date:  May 29

–      High Country Citizen Science

Document mountain goats and pikas at selected sites to assist with population and distribution estimates and genetic mapping. These species are habitat and temperature sensitive, and may be affected by changing climate.

West Glacier training dates: June 4, June 15, July 16, July 29

St. Mary training date:  June 26

–      Huckleberry Phenology Citizen Science 

Huckleberries are an important food source for wildlife, including grizzly bears. The park is collecting data to understand how weather and other factors influence the phenology, or timing, of berry ripeness.

West Glacier training date: June 6

–      Lynx Camera Trapping

Canada lynx are a rare and elusive predator native to Glacier National Park. The goal of this project is to learn the status of lynx populations in the park using camera traps to determine where they are currently present. Citizen scientists can help this research project by hiking to camera traps along trails to check and take down cameras. This is a new project, made possible by donor funding from the Glacier National Park Conservancy.

West Glacier training date: August 1 (evening)

–      Hawk Watch Raptor Migration Counts

One of the most important migration routes for golden eagles and other raptors on their way from northern breeding grounds to warmer climates passes through the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park. Citizen scientists count migrating raptors at Mount Brown or Lake McDonald Lodge.

West Glacier training date: August 27

Citizen Science Special Events

 Noxious Weed Blitz on July 18, 2019
Participants learn about the ecological impacts and identification of noxious weeds and assist in hand pulling.

July Wildlife Crossings Map-a-Thon
The park will hold a map-a-thon this summer to document wildlife crossings along US Highway 2. Multiple workshops will be held in July in West Glacier and East Glacier. Participant observations will help prioritize locations for wildlife crossing structures or other mitigation efforts to help keep wildlife migrating throughout the Crown of the Continent.

Alpine Bird Bioblitz on July 19, 2019
Participants will document and learn about twelve of Glacier’s alpine bird species.

Fall Fungus Bioblitz on October 12- 13, 2019
Participants team up with mycologists to identify as many species of fungus as they can find.

Citizen Science Program Information
Since 2005, the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center in Glacier National Park has managed the Glacier Citizen Science Program. It relies on trained citizen scientists to collect population data on species of interest to the park. Citizen science training informs participants about threats to native plants and animals that may result from human disturbance, climate change, and invasive species. The citizen science program not only provides valuable data to park managers, but also creates an informed group of people involved in active Glacier National Park stewardship.

Glacier National Park Conservancy donors provide nearly all funding for the park’s citizen science program. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/rlc/crown/citizen-science.htm or contact the office at Glac_Citizen_Science@nps.gov or 406-888-7986.

www.nps.gov

 

Satellite imagery helps spot Glacier Park’s huckleberry patches

Huckleberry shrubs turn bright red in fall - USGS photo
Huckleberry shrubs turn bright red in fall – USGS photo

Researchers have developed a new tool to spot huckleberry patches in Glacier Park . . .

The average huckleberry is about as big around as a pencil eraser. But now we can spot them from space.

Several years of refinement have allowed researchers in Glacier National Park to tease apart landscape photos and pinpoint huckleberry patches. The method works on both aerial and satellite photos.

That could qualify as classified intelligence for some secrecy-bound huckleberry hunters. U.S. Geological Survey research ecologist Tabitha Graves and biologist Nate Michael joked they could be endangering themselves by revealing berry hot spots.

Read more . . .

Glacier names Yellowstone chief ranger as new deputy superintendent

Pete Webster, Glacier National Park deputy superintendent
Pete Webster, Glacier National Park deputy superintendent

From the official press release . . .

Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow has selected Pete Webster to be the park’s new deputy superintendent.

Webster will be responsible for leading the park’s division chiefs in identifying park priorities, addressing complex operational challenges, and long-range planning. In recent years the park has faced numerous challenges related to rising visitation, invasive species threats, and wildfires among others.

He has served as the chief ranger at Yellowstone National Park since 2015.

“Pete has proven himself to be an exceptional leader in the National Park Service,” said Superintendent Jeff Mow. “We are very fortunate he’s accepted this new post to offer expertise on some of our most challenging operations.”

Webster and his family have strong ties to the Glacier region. While still in college, he first moved to St. Mary in 1986-87 for a summer job at a local hotel. Webster returned to Glacier as an intern in 1988, as a seasonal park ranger from 1991-93, and as the sub-district ranger in St. Mary from 2004-08.

A native of the Detroit, Michigan area, Webster holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He and his wife Dawn will live in the Flathead Valley with their youngest son, who will enter high school in the fall.

He replaces Eric Smith who moved to Texas last fall to serve as superintendent of Lake Meredith National Recreation Area and Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument.