Category Archives: Glacier National Park

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Crews Make Progress on Glacier Park Fire, Sun Road Reopens to Logan Pass This Week – Flathead Beacon

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WEST GLACIER – Areas in Glacier National Park that have been closed because of a massive wildfire near St. Mary will be reopening this week, although it is unclear how long the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road will remain closed.Officials with Glacier Park hosted a public meeting in West Glacier on Sunday evening on a day when fire crews made significant progress battling the Reynold Creek Fire that started last week. Officials with the incident did not report any new growth of the fire on Sunday. The blaze, which is burning along the north shore of St. Mary Lake in rocky, rugged terrain, remains listed at 3,158 acres. It is 20 percent contained.Recent rains have subdued the fire, but it still possesses potential for activity if drier weather conditions return, according to fire officials. Forecasters have said a cold, wet weather system would hit the region Sunday and Monday with possible snow in the higher elevations of Glacier Park.»»» Click here to view a map of the fire.Crews on Sunday conducted aggressive direct attack and continued structure protection in the Going-to-the-Sun Road area affected by fire activity. Firefighters built containment line next to the fire’s edge and were supported by water drops from helicopters. Since the beginning of the fire, helicopters have dropped more than 1 million gallons of water on the blaze.Above the Sun Road on the east side, explosives were used to build a 4,000-foot fire line in an avalanche chute with heavy brush and downed logs, according to officials. Firefighters continue dropping snags and clearing debris near the Sun Road in areas affected by the fire.At the public meeting Sunday night, Superintendent Jeff Mow said the Going-to-the-Sun Road “will reopen when it is safe.” However, he did announce that the St. Mary Visitors Center will reopen on Monday and the campground there would reopen on Wednesday. The Sun Road will be open to Logan Pass again starting Wednesday. The Rising Sun Campground and Rising Sun Motor Inn will remain closed for the forseeable future. Mow said it is possible that some trails in the fire area will not reopen this year.On Sunday morning, the mandatory evacuation along the west shore of Lower St. Mary Lake was downgraded to a Level 2 “warning.” The Level 2 status of the east side of lower St. Mary Lake will be downgraded to Level 3 “advisory.”  The town site of St. Mary will continue to remain at a Level 3.Evacuation orders have been lifted for National Park Service employee housing and administrative areas.A vast portion the park remains open with favorable weather conditions.A fire information meeting is planned for 6 p.m., Sunday at the West Glacier Community Building in West Glacier. A fire information hotline has been established at 406-732-7791.The incident has cost $2.9 million, according to fire officials. There are 650 personnel and seven aircraft assigned to the incident. The cause remains under investigation.

Source: Crews Make Progress on Glacier Park Fire, Sun Road Reopens to Logan Pass This Week – Flathead Beacon

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I Heart My National Park: Glacier – Intelligent Travel

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Montana’s Glacier National Park is where everything bright and strong and never tamed comes together on high: gray wolves and great silver-tipped bears, storms that hit the Great Divide like tsunamis with golden eagles surfing the wind waves, twisted trees 200 years old but scarcely tall enough to hide a bighorn sheep, and impatient wildflowers shoving through snow to unfurl their colors.Some 762 lakes, dozens of glaciers, and innumerable waterfalls glisten in forested valleys. But perhaps best of all, a scenic highway and more than 700 miles of trails criss-cross the park, making much of its beauty accessible to visitors.Geographer Richard Menicke arrived at Glacier in 1992, and quickly carved out a niche for himself as the park’s foremost geographic information system (GIS) specialist, working to improve natural resource management and educate the public about Glacier’s ecological significance. Here is his insider’s guide to this “Crown of the Continent” jewel.Glacier Is My National ParkSeptember is the best time to visit Glacier because the crowds are gone and the park is beautiful. You can feel like you have the place to yourself.Two Medicine Lake (Photograph by puffsdaddy, Flickr)Glacier’s biggest attraction is Going-to-the-Sun Road and Logan Pass, but a visit isn’t complete without seeing the Two Medicine region or Many Glacier on the east side of the park.If I could offer one practical tip for optimizing your visit, it would be to pass through the entrance gate before 9 a.m. and generally get an early start to each day. Avoid crowds by giving yourself lots of time to go big or simply relax and enjoy—whichever you prefer.My favorite “park secret” is amazing backcountry settings that are reached quickly by foot during a day outing.Watch out for rapidly changing weather conditions and be sure to bring plenty of layers of clothing, appropriate footwear, food, water, and bear spray when you come to the park.Head to Many Glacier if you want to see wildlife. If you’re really lucky, you’ll spot a grizzly bear. But be warned: Make sure to enjoy the local fauna at a distance and do not approach the animals.For the best view, head to Swiftcurrent Lookout. The apex of a stout hike with significant elevation gain in the center of the park, this fire lookout station allows visitors to see just about everywhere.The Highline Loop or Grinnell Glacier trail are the best trails in the park and the Chief Mountain Highway—which connects Glacier to Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada—is the most scenic drive. The two parks together make up the world’s first International Peace Park, a partnership that was forged in 1932.Recommended trail: the Highline Loop (Photograph by Kathy Standford, Flickr)If you’re up for a physical challenge, try hiking the Gunsight Pass/Sperry Chalet to Lake McDonald trail (20 miles!) or from the Highline Loop up and over Swiftcurrent Pass to Many Glacier (13 miles). Both of these hikes are point-to-point treks that require a shuttle or coordination among friends hiking the same trail from the opposite direction.To experience the park’s cultural side, hike up to Sperry Chalet or Granite Park Chalet. You can also sit at the foot of Two Medicine and appreciate the value of that valley to the Blackfeet people over time.Any front-country, drive-in campground is the best place to stay while you’re visiting.If you only have one day to spend in the park, make sure to take Going-to-the-Sun Road (start before 8 a.m.) to Logan Pass. Cross from west to east, or vice versa, to see the dramatic change in the landscape.If you’re interested in a guided experience, try a ranger-led tour or seek out one of the park’s permitted partners.The most peaceful place in the park has to be the North Fork, where you really feel “out there.”Mascot material: Glacier’s mountain goats (Photograph by jstephenconn, Flickr)The Lundgren family is an “unsung hero” of my park because during their many years of operating private visitor facilities in Apgar campground and neighboring West Glacier community, they kept the look and feel of the area rustic and in character of the larger Glacier experience.Witnessing a snowfall and a grizzly bear—all in one day, in August—could only happen in my park.

Source: I Heart My National Park: Glacier – Intelligent Travel

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