Saturday, November 28, 2020

Tetons Hosted Increased Visitation for the Month of October

Grand Teton National Park hosted an estimated 351,173 recreation visits in October 2020, an 88% increase compared to October 2019. Park statistics show that October 2020 saw the highest number of recreation visits on record for the month of October. More data on National Park Service visitor-use statistics is available at

The list below shows the October trend for recreation visits over the last several years:


Visitors to Grand Teton National Park are reminded to plan ahead and recreate responsibly. The park highly encourages visitors to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state authorities, by maintaining social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering when in buildings and high-visitation areas outside.

Visitor services at Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway are limited this time of year, as most facilities close each winter. Please visit and the park’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for more information. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Hiking books make great Christmas gifts!

Christmas is only a few weeks away. So now is a great time to begin thinking about stocking stuffers for all your favorite hikers. With that in mind, I wanted to let you know that both the paperback and E-book versions of my book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, are available on Amazon.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is the first broad historical overview of hiking in one volume. Among the variety of topics discussed about the early years of hiking, the book chronicles hiking’s roots in alpinism and mountaineering, the societal trends that fostered its growth, some of the early hikers from the 19th century, the first trails built specifically for hiking, the formation of the first hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel. It also includes anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, such as Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is a great stocking stuffer for anyone who loves hiking, and wishes to learn more about the rich and amazing history of one of the world’s top pastimes.

For more information, and to purchase on Amazon, please click here.

Once again, thank you very much!


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Friday, November 20, 2020

Glacier National Park Reports Increase in October Visitation

Last month, 125,544 visitors entered the park in October compared to 78,408 in October 2019. The average number of visitors in October for the past three years is about 85,000.

Overall, the park saw a reduction in visitors between June and September. The park was closed to visitors from March 24 to June 8 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitation was down 70% in June, 50% in July, 40% in August and 30% in September.

Due to the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council’s resolution restricting non-essential travel on the reservation, the east entrances to the park and Going-to-the-Sun Road were closed through-out the season. Visitors were required to enter and exit Going-to-the-Sun Road via the west entrance and traffic was allowed as far as Rising Sun on the east side. The west entrance continues to be the only access point for the park during the winter season.

Although the alpine sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park are closed for the season, visitors can drive 15.5 miles of the road from the west entrance to Avalanche Creek. There are no lodging or food services available in the park this time of year.

Winter weather conditions sometimes cause road closures. Visitors are encouraged to check the Recreational Access Display (RAD) or call 406-888-7800 and select option 1 for the latest road update.

Learn more about winter operations at Glacier National Park on our Visiting in Winter webpage. For additional visitor inquiries, contact park headquarters at 406-888-7800.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Trails Stewardship Strategy Released by Rocky Mountain Region of the USDA Forest Service

Earlier this week the Rocky Mountain Region of the USDA Forest Service released a trails stewardship strategy to guide how the agency will work with partners to support recreation, sustain wildlife and natural resources, foster economic prosperity, and inspire public health.

Sustainable trails are vital for improving responsible access to the outdoors, accommodating numerous visitors, minimizing impacts to wildlife and natural resources, and reducing user conflicts through more active management methods. These factors support the need for a shared trails stewardship strategy that embraces the Forest Service values of service, interdependence, conservation, and diversity, as well as safety, sustainability, commitment, access, inclusion, communication, and relationships.

“Through the hard work of staff and dedicated partners around the Rocky Mountain Region, we have developed a guiding strategy for trails that represents the inclusive and diverse range of users and activities that we will continue to manage and plan for in the future. The trails stewardship strategy is a starting point that will inform how we work together collaboratively to share, steward, and enjoy a sustainable system of trails across the region,” said Jason Robertson, Acting Director of Recreation, Lands, Minerals, and Volunteers for the Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region.

The next steps will include the development of an implementation plan, which will involve a series of workshops and meetings to gather input from partners and other members of the public who are interested in supporting and helping to implement the trails strategy. The workshop and meeting schedule will be announced at a later time.

For more information, please visit or contact Chad Schneckenburger at 


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Investigation Underway into Two Dead Grizzly Bears Found Near Bigfork

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks are investigating the death of two grizzly bears near Bigfork.

The carcasses of an adult female bear and yearling were located Nov. 9 on Bear Creek Road near Montana Highway 83. No additional information is available at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

Anyone with potential information is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668). Callers may remain anonymous. If the information provided leads to an arrest, callers could be eligible for a cash reward.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Elk Reduction Program in Grand Teton National Park Begins Saturday, November 7

An elk reduction program begins Saturday, November 7, in Grand Teton National Park. The park’s enabling legislation of 1950 authorizes Grand Teton National Park to jointly administer an elk reduction program with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department when necessary for the proper management and conservation of the Jackson Elk Herd.

Respective federal and state resource managers have reviewed available data and concluded that the 2020 program is necessary. The need for the program is determined annually and is based on the status of the Jackson Elk Herd, including estimated herd size and composition and the number of elk on supplemental feed on the National Elk Refuge. A total of 550 permits are authorized for the 2020 program.

The only area open to the elk reduction program is Wyoming Game and Fish Elk Hunt Area 75, located mostly east of U.S. Highway 89. The Antelope Flats portion of this area closes November 23, and the remaining portions close December 13. The Snake River Bottom between Deadmans Bar and Ditch Creek is closed.

Wyoming Game and Fish Elk Hunt Area 79 is closed to limit harvest pressure on northern migratory and resident elk.

Participants in the program must carry their state hunting license, conservation stamp, elk special management permit and 2020 elk reduction program park permit, use non-lead ammunition, and are limited in the number of cartridges they are able to carry each day. The use of archery, handguns, or other non-center fire ammunition rifles is not permitted, nor is the use of artificial elk calls. In addition, participants, regardless of age, are required to carry a hunter safety card, wear fluorescent orange or pink, and carry and have immediately accessible a 7.9oz. (or greater) can of non-expired bear spray. Information packets accompanying each permit warn participants of the risk of bear encounters and offer tips on how to minimize the risk of human-bear conflicts.

Following detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a mule deer within Grand Teton National Park in November 2018, the National Park Service increased surveillance efforts to include mandatory collection of elk heads from all elk harvested during the program. Park personnel will collect biological samples from the heads and submit them to the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory for testing. Participants can check their results online.

National Park Service and Wyoming Game and Fish staff will monitor and patrol elk reduction program areas to ensure compliance with rules and regulations, interpret the elk reduction program to visitors, and provide participants with outreach regarding bear activity and safety. These areas remain open to park visitors, and wearing bright colors is highly encouraged during this time.

An information line for the elk reduction program is available at 307.739.3681.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Missoula Woman Dies in Diving Accident at Lake McDonald

On Sunday, November 1 at approximately 5:50 p.m., a Glacier National Park Ranger responded to a report of a scuba diving accident at Lake McDonald. An 18-year-old female from Missoula was declared deceased after resuscitation efforts by members of the diving group and first responders were unsuccessful.

The deceased was part of a scuba diving group of six people that started their dive near the dock of Lake McDonald Lodge around 4:00 pm.

At the time of the incident, by-standers drove to Apgar Village for cell signal to call 911. A.L.E.R.T. was first on the scene, about thirty minutes after the initial 911 call. A second diver, a 22-year-old male, suffered shortness of breath and was transported by Three Rivers Ambulance to Kalispell Regional Medical Center. He was later flown to Seattle, Wash. for hyperbaric treatment.

The incident is under investigation and names have not yet been released, pending next of kin notification. Lake McDonald is popular among some scuba diving groups because of submerged artifacts. Permits are not required to dive in Glacier National Park and diving equipment is not subject to Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) inspections.

Glacier National Park thanks the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and Dive Team, Three Rivers Ambulance, and A.L.E.R.T. for their assistance in this rescue effort.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park