Friday, November 21, 2014

Inspiring Journeys: Improving Grand Teton’s Most Visited Destination (Part 3)

The Spring 1939 issue of Grand Teton Nature Notes reported that “By far the most popular trail in the park is the lower portion of the Cascade Canyon Trail which leaves Jenny Lake and climbs above Hidden Falls.” More than 75 years later that statement still holds true. As a result of overuse through the years the park, in conjunction with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, launched a multi-year project in the spring of 2014 to improve the area surrounding Jenny Lake.

Inspiring Journeys: A Campaign for Jenny Lake is a $16.4 million public-private collaboration that will transform Jenny Lake’s trails, bridges, key destinations, and visitor complex. The much needed upgrades will improve the experience of hikers heading to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, Cascade Canyon, as well as the loop trail around Jenny Lake. Additionally, the project will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and create an inviting trail system and captivating experience for the 21st century visitor.

This summer, Grand Teton trail crews accomplished major improvements on the trails around North Cascade Creek, including the horse trail. Below is the final part in a series of short videos that helps to explain the process of this major project:



Work on the backcountry trail system from the west shore of Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point will continue during the summer of 2015. For more information on the project you can visit the Grand Teton National Park Foundation website.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Glacier Park Seeks Comments on Proposed Fee Increases

Glacier National Park is requesting public comment on a proposal to increase the park’s entrance fees for the first time in nine years, implement a motorized boat launch fee, and increase the camping fee at the Many Glacier Campground.

The proposal includes increasing the summer vehicle 7-day entrance fee from $25 to $30, with the winter fee changing from $15 to $20. The individual hiker/biker summer 7-day entrance fee would change from $12 to $15, and the winter fee would remain at $10. The 7-day entrance fee for a motorcycle would increase from $12 per person to $25 per motorcycle in the summer and from $10 per person to $15 per motorcycle in the winter. Summer season fees are charged from May 1-October 31, and winter fees are charged November 1-April 30 of each year.

The annual park pass would change from $35 to $60. This pass allows for unlimited access to the park for one year from first time of use.

The proposed fees are consistent with other larger national parks.

If approved, all changes in entrance fees at Glacier National Park would be implemented in May, 2015. The last time park entrance fees at Glacier National Park were increased was in 2006. Prior to that, the summer vehicle fee was $20 and the annual park pass was $30.

The proposal does not affect other passes with the America the Beautiful- The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program, including the $80 interagency and $10 senior passes, and the free access or military passes.

A new boat launch fee is being proposed that will support managing the boat launch facilities in the park. The fee would be for all motorized boats that access park waters. The proposed fee is $10 for a 7-day permit or $40 for an annual permit. Revenue would help with boater education, monitoring, and improvements to boat launch facilities. If approved, it is anticipated this fee would be implemented in May, 2015. Boat inspections for aquatic invasive species (AIS) would still be required.

The park proposal also includes increasing the camping fee at the Many Glacier Campground from $20 to $23, and utilizing the federal reservation system for approximately half of the camp sites. The remaining sites not included on the reservation system would be first-come first-serve. This fee change would be consistent with the other reservation campgrounds in the park, Fish Creek and St. Mary Campgrounds. If approved, this fee and the reservation system would begin summer of 2016.

Another fee change would be for group campsites in the park. The proposed fee is $65 per group reservation site and $60 for first-come first-serve group sites. The current fee structure is $53 per site for the first nine individuals and $5 for each additional person for a reserved site, and $50 for a first-come first-serve group site. Group camping sites are located at St. Mary, Apgar, Many Glacier and Two Medicine. Some are available by reservation and some are first-come first-serve. If approved the proposed fee change would begin May, 2015.

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) is the legislation that allows the park to collect entrance and camping fees, and retain 80 percent of the collected revenue. The remaining 20 percent is distributed throughout the National Park System. Basic park operations are funded by direct appropriations from Congress.

It is anticipated that the proposed fee changes could potentially generate approximately an additional $500,000 annually for Glacier National Park, depending on the number and type of entrance passes and camping permits sold. The funds generated by fees would be used for projects that enhance visitor services and facilities, including interpretive programs at campgrounds, the backcountry campsite reservation program, repair and restoration of trails, restoration of wildlife habitat, improvement and replacement of restroom facilities, preservation and maintenance of roads, and shuttle bus operation and maintenance.

Glacier National Park is an economic driver in the state of Montana and surrounding region. A National Park Service report shows that approximately 2.2 million visitors to Glacier National Park in 2013 spent $179 million in communities near the park supporting 2,824 jobs in the local area.

Public feedback on the proposed fee changes should be submitted to the park by December 19, 2014. Comments can be emailed or written comments may be mailed to Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: Fee Proposal, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, Montana 59936. Following receipt and analysis of public feedback, a decision will be made on fee changes and timing of implementation. For more information, contact the park at 406-888-7800.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Yellowstone Seeks Comments on the Mist Creek Pass Trail Project

Yellowstone National Park is soliciting comments on a proposed project to complete routine trail work on portions of the Mist Creek Pass Trail. The project will focus on the area around Mist Creek Meadows in the Lamar River drainage.

The main intent of the project will be to harden sections of trail that are regularly wet and boggy by adding rock to the trail subsurface at strategic locations. Work will also focus on routine but essential erosion control. The project will be completed by National Park Service staff in partnership with the Montana Conservation Corps, and will be funded through the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources Recreational Trails Program.

Comments may be hand-delivered during normal business hours to the mailroom in the park’s Administration Building in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, or mailed to: Bill Hopkins, Backcountry Trails Office, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 82190, or emailed.

Comments will not be accepted by fax or in any other way than those specified above. All comments must be received by midnight MST on Friday, November 28, 2014.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Friday, November 14, 2014

Inspiring Journeys: Improving Grand Teton’s Most Visited Destination (Part 2)

The Spring 1939 issue of Grand Teton Nature Notes reported that “By far the most popular trail in the park is the lower portion of the Cascade Canyon Trail which leaves Jenny Lake and climbs above Hidden Falls.” More than 75 years later that statement still holds true. As a result of overuse through the years the park, in conjunction with the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, launched a multi-year project in the spring of 2014 to improve the area surrounding Jenny Lake.

Inspiring Journeys: A Campaign for Jenny Lake is a $16.4 million public-private collaboration that will transform Jenny Lake’s trails, bridges, key destinations, and visitor complex. The much needed upgrades will improve the experience of hikers heading to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, Cascade Canyon, as well as the loop trail around Jenny Lake. Additionally, the project will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and create an inviting trail system and captivating experience for the 21st century visitor.

In May 2014, helicopters dropped 260 tons of material near the mouth of Cascade Canyon at Jenny Lake. Since then, Grand Teton trail crews have been hard at work restoring the area’s degraded trail system. Below is part 2 in a series of short videos that explain the process of this major project:



Work on the backcountry trail system from the west shore of Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point will continue during the summer of 2015. For more information on the project you can visit the Grand Teton National Park Foundation website.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Nine Rivers: A Canadian Adventure

Nine rivers, four men and two canoes. This excellent film follows four adventurers on a month-long, one-thousand kilometre (621 miles) canoe journey through the Canadian shield. The group shares the hardships and splendor of the North on this journey to Hudson Bay.

This film is fairly long compared to most I post on this blog, but it's very well done, and takes you through an area of North America that most people will never see. Although this was a major expedition, it's something a common person could accomplish (as opposed to having to be a super-fit athlete). Actually, I would love to do something like this some day...

Hope you enjoy:


Nine Rivers from Matt Perpick on Vimeo.



Jeff
Hiking in Glacier National Park

Friday, November 7, 2014

Veterans Day is Fee-Free Day in Glacier

Entrance fees to Glacier National Park will be waived on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11, in honor of those that serve and have served in the United States Military.

Glacier National Park, as well as the other 400 sites of the National Park Service, offers a free annual pass to active duty military members and their dependents. The annual pass allows free entrance to national parks and other federal recreation sites.

Active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents can obtain their pass at Glacier National Park’s headquarters building or any staffed park entrance station. A current and valid military identification card must be presented to obtain the pass. More information is available here, or by calling the park at 406-888-7800.

Winter entrance fees to the park are in effect November 1 - April 30 each year. The park’s winter entrance fee is $15 per vehicle and is valid for seven days. The per-person winter entrance fee for a visitor traveling on foot or bicycle is $10 and is valid for seven days. An annual Glacier National Park pass for unlimited access to the park for one year is available for $35.

Other passes with America the Beautiful-The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program are also available. United States citizens 62 years of age and older may purchase a lifetime pass for $10, and citizens with a permanent disability may obtain a free lifetime pass. An annual pass available for $80 allows free entrance to federally operated recreation sites across the county, including many National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bureau of Land Management sites.

Backcountry permits are required for any backcountry overnight visit in the park. Permits for the winter season are available by calling the park up to seven days in advance, or by visiting the park headquarters office, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. or the Apgar Visitor Center on weekends, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For backcountry campers desiring to obtain their permit on the east side of the park, please call ahead to arrange a meeting place. Winter backcountry campers need to view the park’s two Winter Backcountry Camping Videos prior to arriving in the park. The videos are available on the park’s YouTube site.

Visitors planning to boat within the park are reminded that all motorized watercraft require inspection and a permit before launching within the park. During the winter, boaters are encouraged to contact the park prior to their visit and schedule an inspection by calling 406-888-7800, extension 6.

Winter camping is available at the Apgar Picnic Area and the St. Mary Campground. There is no charge for camping at these locations in the winter, and no services are provided.

The park headquarters office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The Apgar Visitor Center is open weekends, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Have craft brewers jumped the shark?

I have a question for beer lovers and common sewers, I mean connoisseurs: Has the whole craft beer industry jumped the shark?

In recent years there's been a growing trend towards extreme levels of hops and flavors not normally associated with beer. Some of the flavors I've seen or heard about - that have gone way out on the limb - include chile peppers, avocados, coconut curry, oysters, pine needles and even smoked ham and bacon! Hey, I'm all for experimentation, but I think we've reached the point where brewmasters have become self-indulgent to a certain extent. To use a pop music analogy, it feels like the craft brewing industry is nearing the end of the disco era, or the "hair metal" band era of the late 80s.

To continue with the music analogy, I think we're approaching the point where we're going to have to take all those albums (funky beer recipes) up to Comiskey Park and burn them after a White Sox game to make my (our?) point. It's time to get back to the roots of great beers.

While sipping on a German pilsner last weekend I came to the realization that the Germans, English, Irish and the Belgian Monks perfected the art of beer making several centuries ago. The reason these traditional beer makers have survived all these years is because they have focused on flavor. Sadly, many American craft brewers seem to have abandoned this fundamental reason for drinking beer. I'm certainly not bashing all American craft brewers. There are many who are making some absolutely great beers, such as Anderson Valley's Boont Amber Ale and Brother David’s Double Abbey Style Ale, or Big Sky's Moose Drool, or Deschutes Brewery's Black Butte Porter, or Highland Brewing Company's Gaelic Ale, or Mt. Carmel Brewing Company's Amber Ale - to name just a few. Unfortunately, very few places sell these brews on tap, opting instead to sell the outrageous flavors of the month.

All I'm saying, is give taste a chance! Am I the only one going "against the grain"?



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com