Tag Archives: snow removal

Snowpack delays scheduled opening of some facilities in Glacier National Park

Glacier Park is having trouble getting dug out this year . . .

Due to an unusually large,  lingering snowpack and cool temperatures, Glacier National Park officials announced delays in opening some east side campgrounds and the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. The opening date of the Many Glacier, Cutbank and Two Medicine Campgrounds will be June 10th, instead of the usual Memorial Day Weekend opening date. The Swiftcurrent Motor Inn opening will also be delayed until June 10th rather than the previously anticipated June 3rd. Visitors with reservations at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn will be accommodated at other Glacier Park, Inc. properties. Park crews are working diligently to get facilities uncovered, water and wastewater services turned on, utilities repaired and roads dug out.

Although May has shown some signs of spring, weather stations at West Glacier, East Glacier and Saint Mary all recorded near record or record precipitation amounts for April. US Geological Survey snow surveys measured 88 inches of snow on the ground at the 5,900 foot level near Siyeh Bend on the Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) in the end of March. The survey was repeated a month later and 106 inches of snow was measured at the same location. Snow depth data has been collected since 1993, and the highest recorded depth was 166 inches at the 7,000 foot level in the end of April 2011.

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2011 Spring plowing is underway in the park

They’re starting to move snow in Glacier National Park and they have plenty extra this year. Don’t expect Logan Pass access before mid-June at best and, as usual, they are letting Camas and the inside North Fork Road melt out on their own. Read the press release for all the gory details . . .

Glacier National Park road crews have begun spring snow plowing on the park’s roads and are finding substantial amounts of snow. Flattop and Many Glacier Snotel sites, snow measuring stations, are showing between 20 and 40 percent above normal snow water equivalent. Last week, USGS snow survey crews recorded 100 inches of snow on the ground at Siyeh Bend, two miles east of Logan Pass, and 140 inches of snow at the 7,500 foot elevation nearby.

Park crews began plowing the Chief Mountain Road, near the park’s northeast corner on Tuesday, March 15. The crews then focused their efforts on the Two Medicine Road. Instead of the three foot drifts they normally encounter at this time of year, the crews were plowing drifts up to eight feet deep. As soon as weather and road conditions permit, visitors will be able to drive to Running Eagle Falls. The Many Glacier Road will be the focus of east side plowing efforts this week. At present, crews are encountering drifts over ten feet deep. The Many Glacier Road will not open to motor vehicles until the third weekend of April at the earliest, to reduce stress on wildlife in critical winter range.

On the west side, the crews have completed plowing Apgar Village and one lane on the Camas Road. The Camas and Inside North Fork Roads will be allowed to melt out prior to opening. Plowing of the Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road) began on Friday, April 1, beyond the Lake McDonald Lodge. Crews are encountering 12-36 inches of snow with two to six inches of ice on the road surface. Once the crews plow beyond Avalanche Creek, HK Contractors will continue rehabilitation of the Sun Road along Upper McDonald Creek and on both sides of Logan Pass.

Because of the contract to rehabilitate the Sun Road, the earliest possible opening of the road in its entirety would be June 17, weather and road conditions dependent. Spring snow storms play a large factor in safely opening the Sun Road to two-way motor vehicle traffic. Once the plow crews are working in the higher elevations, visitors will be able to drive to Avalanche Creek on the west side and Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side.

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Crews begin plowing Glacier Park roads; snow depths above average

The Missoulian yesterday evening posted a pretty thorough write-up on this year’s snow removal efforts in Glacier National Park, including this interesting tidbit: “Basin totals for the entire North Fork of the Flathead River are an astounding 197 percent of average snow water equivalent” . . .

In this corner of Montana, nothing heralds the approach of springtime quite like the mechanical whirring of a fleet of snowplows hewing out a path on Glacier National Park’s famed Going-to-the-Sun Road.

On April 1, plow crews will begin the annual work of forging through a wall of white on the 50-mile-long engineering marvel, a job that will require several months of steady churning before visitors can make the tortuous journey – and perhaps longer, given this winter’s cumbrous snowpack.

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Mud season: bears and snowplows

It looks like mud season — er, uh… Spring — is on its way.

According to an article in the Flathead Beacon, “Grizzly and black bears are emerging from their dens in Glacier National Park.” If they are up and foraging for food in the park, we’ll likely be seeing them on the North Fork, too.

Glacier National Park has started its spring plowing activities. The Daily Inter Lake has extensive details on scheduling and restrictions. The Park Service also posted a press release.

County staff shortage affects snowplowing

From the Saturday, December 13, 2008 online edition of the Daily Inter Lake . . .

If you live in the far reaches of Flathead County, don’t hold your breath waiting for the snowplow to come.

The county road department has 8.5 fewer full-time employees to handle the road maintenance load this winter, and no “floaters” to cover those who are sick or on vacation, county Public Works Director Dave Prunty said.

“The more remote the area, the longer it will take,” Prunty said Friday, just hours before the Flathead’s first blizzard of the season was predicted to begin. “If it hits like they say, it will be a slap in the face for us.”

Read the entire article . . .

County sets aside $100,000 for dusty roads

The Thursday, December 4, 2008 online edition of the Hungry Horse News included a report on the November 20th meeting concerning the North Fork Road called by Commissioner Gary Hall. It is an interesting read. Although the meeting concentrated mostly on dust remediation and funding issues, there was another little gem of more immediate interest: County Public Works Director Dave Prunty indicated that snow removal may be sub-par this year.

So, make sure you have a good set of chains and read the article . . .

Flathead County is considering a plan that could help mitigate dust on the county’s some 700 miles of unpaved roads — including the North Fork Road.

In a recent meeting with representatives of several government agencies and North Fork residents, Commissioner Gary Hall presented a draft agreement for a dust control cost share program.

Read the entire article . . .