Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bowman Lake Road in Glacier to Undergo Repairs

Glacier National Park will begin a significant road grading and gravel replacement project on the Bowman Lake Road beginning July 17. The work will fix potholes and drainage on roadways and in ditches, and improve the overall road surface. The construction will occur on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week, and is expected to last through late summer. Visitors will be able to access Bowman Lake except for the following times:

Morning road closure: 10 am - 12 pm

Afternoon road closure: 1 pm - 3 pm

The closure times were selected based on current traffic patterns to minimize impacts on day users and backcountry hikers. Typically the area fills by mid-morning, with very few vehicles exiting the lake before the end of the day. Closure times and days of the week may be adjusted due to unforeseen repair challenges. Access restrictions may occasionally be lifted during planned closure periods while the park awaits additional gravel deliveries. Visitors arriving at the Polebridge Entrance Station will be advised of the restrictions each day.

The project is funded through fees collected at park entrance stations, and is part of a suite of summer maintenance initiatives that the park’s road crew accomplishes after spring opening is complete on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.



Jeff
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Friday, July 13, 2018

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop set for Aug. 3-5

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ popular Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program will host a weekend workshop Aug. 3-5 at Birch Creek Civilian Conservation Corps Camp near Dillon.

Women are encouraged to sign up with a friend and learn a new activity or improve existing skills. Participants get to choose four of these activities: hiking, backpacking, survival skills, how to use a map and compass, bird identification, plant identification, sausage making and more!

Anyone 18 years of age or older may participate. This is a popular workshop and will fill quickly, so register today!

To download the registration form visit the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov, click “Education,” then click “Becoming an Outdoors Woman.” For more information, call Sara Smith at 406-444-9948 or email sarsmith@mt.gov.



Jeff
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Emergency Closure for Safety at Hidden Falls Area of Jenny Lake

The National Park Service has implemented an emergency closure in the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point areas on the west side of Jenny Lake for human safety. Some recently expanding cracks and fissures have been identified in a large rock buttress above the Hidden Falls viewing area.

Superintendent David Vela said, “Human safety is our number one priority, and with an abundance of caution we are temporarily closing this area until we can properly assess the situation.”

Those familiar with the site, specifically park rangers and personnel with Exum Mountain Guides, identified the cracks and fissures and determined the situation to be a possible safety hazard. The notable changes in the rock over the past 24 hours spurred park rangers to implement a temporary closure and initiate a risk assessment with subject-matter experts.

Exum Mountain Guides are relocating their practice school services to another location, and shuttle boat and scenic cruises with Jenny Lake Boating will continue to operate. Visitors are able to ride the boat to the west shore, hike Cascade Canyon or around the lake, and enjoy some areas of the west shore as well as the front country areas of the Jenny Lake Complex.

It is unknown how long the closure at Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point areas will be in place.



Jeff
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Smoke may be visible from the Hayden Fire in Yellowstone

Smoke from the lightning-ignited Hayden Fire may be visible from the Grand Loop Road between Canyon Village and Mud Volcano.

The fire lookout on Mount Washburn spotted the 0.1-acre wildland fire Tuesday morning, July 10, and will monitor it daily. The Hayden Fire does not pose a threat to park visitors. Public and firefighter safety is the first priority for park managers.

All roads leading into and through the park are open. If fire activity increases, more information will be announced. This is the first fire in the park this season. Last year, eight fires burned less than 1 acre in total.

Stay informed about current fire activity in Yellowstone.



Jeff
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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Glacier Hosts First Alpine Bird BioBlitz

To celebrate the “Year of the Bird” and the array of birds in Glacier's alpine areas, the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center (CCRLC) will host its first Alpine Bird BioBlitz. Participants will work alongside expert birders to document and learn about twelve of Glacier’s alpine bird species.

The Alpine Bird BioBlitz will be held on Friday, July 27 at designated locations within the park. The event begins at 6:30 a.m. for most hiking destinations. Event end times will be variable with some hikes lasting into the late afternoon or early evening.

This a free event and is open to the public. Participants should be able to hike moderate to strenuous trails and have some prior birding experience. Registration is required. Visit https://www.nps.gov/rlc/crown/bioblitz.htm to register. Contact CCRLC at (406)-888-7986 or email glac_citizen_science@nps.gov for more information.

In advance of the BioBlitz, all interested members of the public are invited to attend a brown bag presentation by park wildlife biologist, Lisa Bate, on Wednesday, July 25 from 12:00-1:00pm at the West Glacier Community Center. The presentation will include an overview of the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Alpine Bird BioBlitz, a guide to identifying the focal alpine bird species in the field, and a brief look at the survey protocol to be used during the BioBlitz. No registration is required to attend the brown bag presentation. BioBlitz participants are encouraged, but are not required, to attend the Wednesday presentation.

The Year of the Bird is a year-long celebration of birds and marks the significance of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, signed in 1918. Organizations like the National Park Service have joined with the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, Bird Life International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to celebrate birds and encourage actions to protect birds and their habitats.

Visit the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center events page for more information on other learning opportunities offered this summer.



Jeff
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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fire Danger Has Increased to Moderate in Grand Teton

Teton Interagency fire managers announce the fire danger rating has been elevated to moderate for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, National Elk Refuge, and remaining portions of the Teton Interagency Dispatch area. The potential for fire activity has increased due to summer curing of vegetation combined with warmer, drier conditions.

A moderate fire danger rating means fires can start from most accidental causes. Unattended campfires and brush fires have potential to escape, especially on windy days in dry, open areas.

When determining fire danger, fire managers use several indicators such as the moisture content of grasses, shrubs, and trees; projected weather conditions including temperatures and possible wind events; the ability of fire to spread after ignition; and availability of firefighting resources both within the region as well as other parts of the country.

In areas where campfires are allowed, fires should never be unattended and must be completely extinguished. Simply pouring water on the remains of a fire is not sufficient. The charred remains must be repeatedly doused with water and stirred into the campfire ring. All embers and logs, not just the red ones, should be broken up and covered with dirt. Before leaving the area, the campfire remains must be cold to the touch.

Visit the Teton Interagency Fire web site at https://gacc.nifc.gov/gbcc/dispatch/wy-tdc to learn more about fire safety and what fire regulations may be in place. To report a fire or smoke in the immediate area, call the Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 307.739.3630.



Jeff
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Hard-sided Camping Only at Many Glacier

Effective immediately, the Many Glacier Campground will temporarily be limited to hard-sided camping. This means that tents and soft-sided campers will not be permitted until further notice. Camper vehicles such as VW buses and pickup trucks with small canvas pop-ups are allowed as long as the canvas is not exposed.

On Friday morning at 10:30 am, a small grizzly bear weighing approximately 150 pounds, entered the Many Glacier Campground. It crossed a stream, entered a campsite, and compelled two campers to move away from a picnic table where they were cleaning two recently caught Brook Trout. One of the campers sprayed the bear with bear spray from a distance of 15 feet. The spray was unsuccessful in deterring the bear’s approach, and it proceeded to climb on top of the picnic table and consume the fish. It also sniffed, pawed, and bit two nearby backpacks.

Park rangers responded and used hazing techniques to encourage the bear to move out of the campground. Prior to its departure, it dug into two fire pits, sniffed picnic tables, a tent, and an RV with visitors inside.

The park is attempting to trap the grizzly bear for further management action. The bear exhibits numerous signs of food-conditioning and meets the definition of a conditioned bear in Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Guidelines. A non-conditioned bear would typically not enter a campsite with people present and resist human attempts to scare it away. Conditioned bears are usually removed from the population by being placed in zoos or euthanized.

Once bears have successfully obtained unnatural food from people or become accustomed to foraging in developed areas, it is very difficult to change their behavior to return to wild areas and natural food sources. Once they have received a human food reward, they often become a safety hazard as they become increasingly aggressive seeking out and obtaining subsequent food rewards. In 1976, a conditioned grizzly bear dragged a camper from her tent in the Many Glacier Campground and killed her.

Glacier National Park has a proactive bear management program that seeks to prevent conditioning through public education, bear-wise waste management, aggressive enforcement of food storage regulations, and application of hazing and aversive conditioning techniques to teach bears to avoid humans and developed areas.

Visitors and residents are urged to learn more about the importance of food storage while living and recreating in bear country for bear and human safety.



Jeff
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