Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Trail to Pitamakan Pass is now clear

The latest Trail Status update on the park website shows that the trail to Pitamakan Pass is now clear. The 15.4-mile roundtrip hike out of the Two Medicine area is perhaps one of the more underrated hikes in the park. The views from the knife-edge ridge are simply ouitstanding. Several lakes can be seen from either side of the pass, including Pitamakan Lake:

The more adventurous can continue on by taking the trail around Mt. Morgan which leads to Dawson Pass, and then back down to Two Medicine Lake, to create an epic 14.8-mile loop (provided you catch the shuttle boat in time – otherwise it would be 17.6-mile hike!). According to the latest update, "Dawson pass to Morgan ridge (is) clear and dry".


Jeff
Hikes in Glacier National Park

Search Continues for Missing Hiker

A search operation continues in Glacier National Park for missing hiker, 19-year old Jakson Kreiser. Ground and aerial searches were conducted yesterday, with several crews staying overnight in the backcountry. Crews returned to the search area early today, and aerial observations continue.

The park is using forward looking infrared technology (FLIR). This technology, available through the Flathead County Sheriff's Office, uses thermal imaging cameras that detect heat sources. It is being used in early morning operations before the rocks and vegetation warm. Canine search teams from the US Border Patrol are also being utilized, as well as human tracker expertise from North Valley Search and Rescue Team.

The search area is focused in the area between Hidden Lake and Avalanche Lake. Kreiser's vehicle was located in the Logan Pass Visitor Center Parking Lot and it is believed that Kreiser was attempting a day hike from Logan Pass to Avalanche Lake. His intended route is in some treacherous country filled with rock cliffs, water falls, wet and slippery rocks and boulders, and dense vegetation. The descent is more than 4,000 feet in steep conditions.

Kreiser was reported missing when he failed to return following a day hike on Saturday, July 28. He is a seasonal employee with Glacier Park, Inc. at Lake McDonald Lodge. Ground and aerial searches were initiated on Sunday, July 29. A park incident management team has been organized and is managing the incident. Approximately 50 people are dedicated to the incident.

Kreiser is from Michigan. This is his first year working in the area. He is 6 feet 2 inches tall with black, short and curly hair, and a black beard. It is believed he is wearing a yellow sweatshirt and grey colored khaki pants, and carrying a grey and yellow backpack.

Anyone that may have been in the Logan Pass, Hidden Lake, Floral Park or Avalanche Lake areas over the weekend and may have seen Kreiser, is encouraged to contact park dispatch at 406-888-7800.


Jeff
Hikes in Glacier National Park

Visitor-Use Studies Begin Along Going-to-the-Sun Road

University of Montana researchers are working in partnership with the National Park Service to conduct visitor-use studies on park trails along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The studies will assess trail usage and trends. Visitors may encounter researchers and research equipment at several areas along the Going-to-the-Sun Road this summer.

The last comprehensive trail-use study in Glacier National Park was conducted in 1988. Some preliminary analysis was conducted in 2011 and further analysis is being conducted this year. Researchers will use electronic vehicle counters on the road and visitor counters on trails. To ensure accuracy, staff and/or cameras will be stationed on some trails, roadsides, and parking areas.

Preliminary information from last year indicates significant increases in some trail use. Research findings will help inform park staff and the public during the development of a Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor Management Plan. The plan is anticipated to begin in 2013.


Jeff
Hikes in Glacier National Park

Monday, July 30, 2012

Photo Published of Missing Hiker in Glacier

Glacier Park officials published this photo of the missing hiker on their Facebook page this afternoon:

Here are a few more details of seasonal employee, Jakson Kreiser:

Ground and aerial search efforts continue for missing hiker. Jakson Jeffrey-Cole Kreiser is 19 years old, 6’2” tall with medium build believed to be wearing a plain yellow/gold Columbia cotton sweatshirt, long khaki pants, and Rocky brand hiking boots size 12. He may be carrying camouflage winter gloves, grey/yellow daypack, large knife in a sheath, and possibly a hiking pole. He was last seen at 6AM on Saturday, July 28 leaving Lake McDonald Lodge for a day hike from Logan Pass through the Floral Park and Avalanche Basin areas, ending at Avalanche Lake. If you are or were hiking in these areas and have information, please call 406-888-7800 option 6.


Jeff
Glacier National Park Hiking

1000-acre Wildfire Closes Several Trails in the Bob Marshall Wilderness

After a Sunday evening patrol flight, fire managers detected a wildfire in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The updated incident overview estimates that the Rapid Creek Fire has grown to 1000 acres. Smoke from the fire is visible from the south-east end of the Flathead Valley. The fire started in the upper Rapid Creek drainage in the Spotted Bear Ranger District. This area is a closed canopy area, with heavy mortality in the timber from mountain pine beetle and over agents. The winds and topography pushed the fire to the east. It has reached the Flathead Forest and Lewis & Clark forest boundary, and has become established in the Rocky Mountain Ranger District.


There are trail closures in place for public and fire fighter safety:

* Rapid Creek Trail # 139
* Fiction Creek Trail # 272
* Obervation Pass Trail # 246
* South Fork of the Sun Trail # 202
* Ellis Creek Trail # 227.

The growth potential for the Rapid Creek Fire is rated as high.

Lightning strikes over the past week have ignited at least four other new fires on the Flathead National Forest (all less than 3 acres at this point). For more information, please visit the Flathead Forest website, or the InciWeb page for Montana.







Jeff
Glacier National Park Hiking

Search Underway for Missing Hiker in Glacier

A search operation is underway in Glacier National Park for a 19-year male hiker that failed to return following a day hike on Saturday, July 28.

Late Saturday night dispatch received a call informing them that Jakson Kreiser, a seasonal employee with Glacier Park, Inc. at Lake McDonald Lodge, was overdue from a personal day hike in the park.

Park rangers investigated the situation and found Kreiser's vehicle at the Logan Pass Visitor Center Parking Lot. It is believed that Kreiser was planning a day hike from Logan Pass to the Avalanche Lake area. Ground and aerial search efforts were conducted Sunday and continue today. The Flathead County Sheriff's Department Mountain Rescue Team and the US Border Patrol are assisting in the efforts.

A park incident management team has been organized and is managing the incident. Approximately 50 people are dedicated to the incident.

Kreiser is from Michigan. This is his first year working in the area. He is 6 feet 2 inches tall with black, short and curly hair, and a black beard. It is believed he is wearing a yellow sweatshirt and khaki pants, and carrying a grey and yellow backpack.

Anyone that may have been in the Logan Pass, Hidden Lake, Floral Park or Avalanche Lake areas over the weekend and may have seen Kreiser, is encouraged to contact park dispatch at 406-888-7800.



Jeff
Glacier National Park Hiking

Citizen Science Opportunities in Glacier

Since 2005 the Glacier National Park Citizen Science Program has utilized trained park visitors, staff and volunteers to collect scientific information that would otherwise be unavailable to resource managers and researchers due to lack of personnel or funding. The program is coordinated by the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center (CCRLC) based at Glacier.

The CCRLC is currently facilitating three Citizen Science programs, made possible through the generous support of the Glacier National Park Fund:

Common Loons - Field surveys are conducted by citizen scientists at 45 high priority lakes in Glacier National Park to document presence of common loons and observations of breeding and nesting behaviors.

High Country - Citizen scientists participate in back-country surveys to collect data on the number and distribution of two species of concern in the high country of Glacier National Park: mountain goats and pikas.

Invasive Plants - Hikers document the presence or absence of five noxious weeds along 700+ miles of Glacier's hiking trails to determine the distribution and extent of invasive plants invading the park.

For more information on these programs, please click here.





Jeff
Glacier National Park Hiking

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nuisance Bear Trapping Alert for Grand Teton National Park

In attempts to capture one or more nuisance bears, park officials may place culvert traps at various locations in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Wherever bear trapping operations are underway, the area around the site will be closed to public entry and posted with bright warning signs. These signs will be posted along major access points to the trapping site. It is essential that all visitors and local residents comply with any posted closure and not venture into that area or ever approach a trap.

Trapping operations are sometimes necessary to capture, mark and/or relocate black or grizzly bears that have become food-conditioned and therefore pose a threat to visitor safety. Bears generally pose a safety concern only after they start to associate people and their activities with easily obtained food. All visitors should heed the 'bear aware' information posted throughout the park and parkway, and take personal responsibility for securing food and other attractants while traveling or camping in bear country.

Park officials remind visitors and local residents that both black and grizzly bears are active day and night throughout Grand Teton and the JDR Memorial Parkway: not only in backcountry areas, but also in high-use locations such as public campgrounds and picnic areas, lodge properties and visitor center locations. For the health and safety of bears, as well as that of visitors, it is important to obey these basic rules and recommendations:

• Use available storage facilities when camping, or secure food in your car

• Dispose of garbage in bear-proof garbage cans provided at all campgrounds and picnic areas

• Never leave food or backpacks unattended, even for a minute

• While hiking:

-- Be Alert
-- Make Noise
-- Carry bear spray
-- Avoid hiking alone
-- Do not run from a bear

Once a bear acquires human food, it often loses its fear of people and may exhibit bold or aggressive behavior. Such animals are deemed nuisance bears and must be trapped and relocated or even euthanized for public safety.






Jeff
Glacier National Park Hiking

Friday, July 27, 2012

Glacier Trail Status Update

As the snow continues to melt, many of the trails in Glacier's high country are finally beginning to open up. Here's the latest from the Trail Status page on the Glacier website:

As of yesterday afternoon the Highline Trail is now open all the way to the Granite Park Chalet. However, the park makes a few important notes about hiking the trail at this time:

Safety handline cable at Rimrock: installed 7/26/2012. Hikers are encouraged to plan ahead and be prepared. Hikers may encounter rocks and mud on the trail, eroded trail tread, and a snowfield at Haystack Butte. Due to recent mud and rock slides along the Highline Trail, both west and east-side park trail crews have been working to allow for public access on the trail from Logan Pass to Haystack Butte. On July 17 a rain event triggered numerous mud and rock slides in the area and deposited lots of rock and mud debris on the trail. Much of the tread, flat surfaces or step-like features built by trail crew, were washed out. In several areas of the trail, bedrock is exposed and hikers are encouraged to use caution. Often the bedrock is angled downhill, wet, and potentially slick. The use of hiking poles is encouraged in this area. Visitors planning to hike on trails in the higher elevations of the park are encouraged to have appropriate footwear for snow travel, specifically lug-sole boots, and self-arrest tools such as ice axe and crampons, as well as the knowledge and skills to utilize the tools. It is recommended to have layers of clothing available, including a rain jacket, for changing weather conditions throughout the park. All hikers are encouraged to turn around if conditions exceed what is comfortable or beyond personal experience and limitations.

Iceberg Lake: Initial clearing is complete. As of 7/23 "the trail is 5% snow covered last 1/2 mile to the lake." You should also note that the trail is POSTED for bear frequenting the area.

Ptarmigan Tunnel is now open for stock and foot traffic.

Swiftcurrent Pass (above Bullhead Lake): As of 7/20, "Two small snow patches remain in last mile to the pass."

Grinnell Glacier Trail: As of 7/20 "the trail is snow free for the first 2 miles, then hazardous snow crossings are encountered, travel beyond is not recommended."

Gunsight Pass: "Winter status. Clearing of downfall will begin in August 2012". As of 7/25 the trail is free of downed trees and snow all the way to the campground / Gunsight Lake.

Piegan Pass from Preston Park Junction is "clear except for 1 low angle snow field covering about 50 ft of trail."

Siyeh Pass from Preston Park Junction: As of 7/12, "Trail has 1 large tree down and has large patches of snow in the lower areas, tapering off to dry trail as you ascend the switchbacks."

Dawson Pass: As of 7/21 "One small patch of snow remains on trail before pass. Can be easily traversed by going across or around."

Pitamakin Pass: As of 7/21 "Cleared of downfall." There's no mention of snow in this latest report. About a week ago the report indicated that the pass wouldn't be opened until August. You may want to ask a ranger for clarification on this before attempting to hike all the way to the pass.


Jeff
Glacier National Park Hiking

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mountain Lion Encounter Reported at Harper's Lake

Harpers Lake Fishing Access Site in the Blackfoot Valley was the scene of an encounter between campers and a mountain lion this past Monday night. The site remains open, but a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks wildlife specialist is camped on site to respond to additional sightings and kill the lion if possible.

FWP biologist, Jay Kolbe, responded to the initial report of Monday’s lion encounter at 9:15 p.m. and arrived on site shortly after. Kolbe said the call came from the mother of five children that were camping on the north end of the Harper’s campground.

The mother reported that the lion was seen crouched and watching her four-year-old child from a distance of about 20 feet. The child and nearby adults and children yelled at the lion, and although it did not approach closer, it remained nearby, even after repeated attempts to scare it off-site.

Kolbe was joined on site Monday evening by FWP wildlife conflict specialist, Bob Wiesner, with lion dogs, but the dogs were not able to follow the lion’s scent. FWP continues to attempt to capture and kill the lion, due to its unusual and aggressive behavior.

“Normally a lion that crosses paths with someone will leave the area after an initial attempt to frighten it away, but its behavior in this case is extremely unusual and merits extra precautions,” said Mike Thompson, FWP regional wildlife manager.

Thompson said that Wiesner will camp at the Harpers Lake site through the weekend to discuss the situation with campers and to provide an immediate onsite response, day or night, if needed.

FWP has also received other recent reports of lion sightings in the area, and reminds all campers, anglers, hikers and others that western Montana is mountain lion country, and now is a good time to review what to do if you cross paths with a lion.

General tips for an encounter with a lion call for not running from or approaching the lion. Give the lion room to leave the area, and immediately pick up small children. Face the lion, talk in a calm voice, enlarge your image as much as possible and remain standing. If a lion attacks, fight back.

For more information on recreating in mountain lion country, and what to do if you encounter one, please click here.


Jeff
Glacier National Park Hiking

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Highline Trail Expected to Open By Friday

According to a press release published this afternoon, the popular Highline Trail at Logan Pass is anticipated to be open by Friday, possibly earlier. Hikers are encouraged to plan ahead and be prepared as they may encounter rocks and mud on trails, eroded trail tread, and some snowfields on higher elevation trails across the park.

Due to recent mud and rock slides along the Highline Trail, both west and east-side park trail crews have been working to allow for public access on the trail from Logan Pass to Haystack Butte. On July 17 a rain event triggered numerous mud and rock slides in the area and deposited lots of rock and mud debris on the trail. Much of the tread, flat surfaces or step-like features built by trail crew, were washed out. In several areas of the trail, bedrock is exposed and hikers are encouraged to use caution. Often the bedrock is angled downhill, wet, and potentially slick. The use of hiking poles is encouraged in this area.

Visitors planning to hike on trails in the higher elevations of the park are encouraged to have appropriate footwear for snow travel, specifically lug-sole boots, and self-arrest tools such as ice axe and crampons, as well as the knowledge and skills to utilize the tools. It is recommended to have layers of clothing available, including a rain jacket, for changing weather conditions throughout the park. All hikers are encouraged to turn around if conditions exceed what is comfortable or beyond personal experience and limitations.

Once fully open, hikers will have the option of hiking from Logan Pass to Haystack Pass, or out to the Granite Park Chalet, or they can make the epic one-way hike down to the The Loop (while using the shuttle).

To keep up with the latest trail updates, please visit the park website.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

FWP, MDOL Announce Environmental Review of Year-Round Bison Tolerance

Earlier this week the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Montana Department of Livestock announced that they will be jointly conducting an environmental review of allowing some bison to inhabit lands adjacent to or near the border of Yellowstone National Park year-round. This scoping notice – the first step in the environmental review process – is intended to solicit public comment regarding the proposal.

The proposed action is an adaptive change to the Interagency Bison Management Plan that would allow for year-round bison use in the following portions of the Gallatin National Forest: The Hebgen Basin, the Cabin Creek Recreation and Wildlife Management Unit, the Monument Mountain Unit of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area, the Upper Gallatin River corridor, and for year-round use by bull bison in the Gardiner Basin.

Some of the issues intended to be addressed include:

* How would the year-round presence of bison affect public safety?

* What are the effects to private landowners in the vicinity of the year-round bison habitats?

* Would the year-round presence of bison provide for additional bison hunting opportunities?

* Would the bison move back into YNP over time without hazing activities?

* Would there be a measureable change in seasonal bison movements if there was year-round habitat available?

* How would the year-round presence of bison affect local livestock operations?

* How would the year-round presence of bison affect other wildlife and habitat?

* What is the likelihood that bison will move beyond the proposed boundaries, what are consequences of these movements, and how will they be mitigated?

Public meetings on the environmental assessment and decision notice are scheduled for:

* West Yellowstone: Aug. 20, 6-8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn

* Gardiner: Aug. 21, 6-8 p.m. at the Gardiner High School Theatre

The public scoping period will end August 24, with a draft EA expected by late October. Public comment on the draft EA is expected to close in late November, with a final decision on the EA expected by mid-December.

Comments and questions can be directed to:

Bison Habitat EA
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
PO Box 200701
Helena MT 59620
406/994-4042
Email: yearroundbison-scoping@mt.gov

Bison EA
Montana Department of Livestock
PO Box 200201
Helena MT 59620
406/444-9431
Email: bison-EA@mt.gov

Copies of the scoping document can be found on the FWP website.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mountain Climber Dies from Fall on Middle Teton

A climber fell to his death on the Middle Teton in Grand Teton National Park this past Sunday. Justin Harold Beldin, age 27 of Benicia, California and two climbing partners had summited the 12,804-foot mountain and were beginning to descend the peak about noon when the accident occurred.

Another group of climbers near the summit of the Middle Teton saw Beldin fall from sight toward the Northwest Couloir side of the ridge that separates it from the Southwest Couloir. They hailed Beldin's companions-who were already working their way down from the summit via the Southwest Couloir-to alert them of the situation. Beldin's climbing partners did not witness the accident, but upon hearing of his fall, they tried to catch sight of him down the Northwest Couloir. They yelled out his name in hopes of getting a response, but received no answer in return.

A member of the climbing party that witnessed Beldin's fall called the Jenny Lake Ranger Station directly by cell phone at 12:09 p.m. to notify park rangers of the incident. Rangers immediately began to mobilize a response, and summoned a Teton Interagency contract helicopter to conduct an aerial reconnaissance flight in order to ascertain Beldin's location on the Middle Teton. Rangers saw Beldin during that over flight and determined that he likely suffered fatal injuries in a fall of approximately 1,000 feet.

An approaching thunderstorm forced the ship to land and wait for better weather. Unfortunately the storm worsened, causing rangers to postpone their attempt to reach Beldin. An off-duty ranger at the Lower Saddle hiked to a high point where he could view Beldin. Due to weather conditions, rock fall, and the nature of the terrain, it was unsafe for him to attempt to reach the victim in the couloir.

Rangers made preparations to reach Beldin's body on Monday morning when favorable weather and more stable environmental conditions might allow rescue personnel to safely access the steep and loose-rock terrain of the Northwest Couloir.

Heavy fog delayed an aerial recovery operation on Monday morning. However about 10:30 a.m., four rangers were inserted by helicopter to the landing zone at the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton. They climbed to where Beldin came to rest after his fall and prepared his body for evacuation from the peak. Beldin's body was turned over to the Teton County coroner at 2 p.m. on Monday, July 23.

Although originally from California, Beldin had been living in Victor, Idaho since April and working in Jackson, Wyoming. He only recently teamed up with his two companions to make the climb. One of his partners had been acquainted with him since April; the other climber only met him on Sunday morning.

Beldin carried an ice axe with him on the climb; however, he was not wearing a helmet.

The Middle Teton is one of the most popular climbs in the Teton Range and is often reached via the Southwest Couloir. The rock climbing section of the Northwest Couloir is rated a 5.6 on the Yosemite Decimal System-a set of numeric ratings describing the difficulty of climbs. There is also a snow and ice section of the couloir that is rated a 3 on the Alpine Ice numeric rating scale.

This marks the fourth fatality in the Teton Range this year. Earlier, two backcountry skiers were killed in an avalanche on Ranger Peak on March 7, and a climber fell to his death on Teewinot on July 12.



Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Monday, July 23, 2012

Jake Bramante Offers Favorite Glacier Park Hikes in Backpacker Magazine

Ultra-hiker Jake Bramante, who last year became the first person to hike every trail within Glacier National Park in one year, recently offered Backpacker Magazine some of his favorite hikes within the park. In the June issue of the magazine, Backpacker asked rangers, guidebook writers, outfitters, and ultra-hikers for their favorite routes within some of the best hiking destinations in the Lower 48. For each location they provide a favorite day hike, a weekend backpacking trip, and an epic week-long trek.

Jake's favorite day hike in Glacier is the Pitamakan Pass / Dawson Pass loop hike in the Two Medicine area.

His weekend loop travels over Redgap Pass and through Ptarmigan Tunnel.

His week-long recommendation is a 51-mile odyssey that he calls the Northern Circle, which includes Stoney Indian Pass, the Mokowanis Valley, Fifty Mountain and Swiftcurrent Pass.

You can read his descriptions for each of these hikes by clicking here.

The feature article also includes hiking recommendations for Yellowstone Park, as well as a few others locales you may have heard of at some point.


Jeff
Glacier National Park Hiking

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Best Lake Hikes in Glacier National Park

As a result of its topography and the heavy amounts of snow that fall during the winter, Glacier National Park is home to 762 lakes! Lake McDonald, on the western side of the park, is the largest in area at 6,823 acres, the longest at 9.4 miles, and the deepest at 464 feet. Most lakes in the park, however, are much smaller. In fact, only 131 lakes actually have a name, including "No Name Lake" in the Two Medicine area. Fortunately for hikers, many of the trails in Glacier Park lead to, or end at a lake. Below are a few of my favorites.

Cracker Lake - Cracker Lake in the Many Glacier area has to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The lake has the most magnificent turquoise color you’ll ever see. If you could ignore the magnificent scenery of the surrounding mountains, it would still be well worth the hike just to see the amazing color of the lake.

Iceberg Lake - One of the most popular hikes in Glacier. And for good reason. This is a great opportunity to see icebergs floating in a gorgeous alpine lake. You’ll also have commanding views of the Ptarmigan Wall, an arĂȘte, or thin ridge of rock separating two valleys that have been carved by glaciers.

Gunsight Lake – A great hike if you’re looking for solitude. In addition to visiting an extremely beautiful alpine lake, you'll also pass Mirror Pond along the way, which just might be one of the most scenic spots in the entire park.

Swiftcurrent Nature Trail - Take an easy stroll around Swiftcurrent Lake for some outstanding views of the Many Glacier Valley. As a bonus, you may even see a bear or a moose along the way.

Hidden Lake - This extremely popular hike, starting from Logan Pass, visits the Hidden Lake Overlook where you’ll have outstanding panoramic views into the heart of Glacier. This hike would’ve definitely ranked higher if it weren’t for the crowds.

Redrock Lake - An outstanding choice for an easy hike. The trail visits two picturesque sub-alpine lakes. Look for moose feeding near the shore of Fishercap Lake.

Cobalt Lake – The trail to the lake travels through several open meadows in the Two Medicine valley. Along the way you’ll pass Rockwell Falls, and you might even see a moose.

Avalanche Lake – The hike to Avalanche Lake begins on the Trail of the Cedars where you’ll pass though a forest of ancient western hemlocks and red cedars. You’ll also see the amazing power of glacially melted water as it rushes down Avalanche Gorge.

Snyder Lake – Great choice for a hike from the Sperry Trailhead near the Lake McDonald Lodge, especially if you’ve already been to the Sperry Chalet, and have no desire to make the 4250-foot climb up to the Mt. Brown Lookout.

Upper Two Medicine Lake – An easy hike to the highest in a series of three glacially fed lakes that dominate the Two Medicine Valley. The lake sits in a large basin surrounded by the jagged rocks of four mountains.


Jeff
Glacier National Park Hiking

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Various Projects Getting Underway on the Flathead National Forest

Forest users may encounter road work in the upcoming weeks on a few districts and are encouraged to slow down and be patient when in work zones or find alternative routes whenever possible. Projects include chip-sealing, installing culverts, and road construction. Work must be accomplished during the summer to ensure best weather conditions, which coincides with heaviest visitor use.

Hungry Horse District - Travelers on the West-side Hungry Horse Reservoir Road, National Forest System Road (NFSR) #895, will encounter extended delays on Wednesday, July 25 and Thursday, July 26, 2012, weather dependent. The pavement will be chip-sealed from the Hungry Horse Dam to Lid Creek. This is the final phase of the NFSR #895 Reconstruction/Repaving American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Project.

For more information, please contact the Hungry Horse – Glacier View Ranger District at 406-387-3800.


Swan Lake District - The Piper Creek crossing of the Swan River will be closed on July 25, 2012. Contractors will be installing a large culvert. The road will be closed to through traffic for most of the day. Travelers can take alternate routes via the Peck Lake Road NFSR #888 or the Fatty Creek Loop NFSR #10381. The culvert is part of the work needed for the construction of a new bridge across the Swan River which also involves structural excavation, roadway embankment, backfill compaction, and creating a path for river access and launching small boats or rafts.

Reconstruction work on the Peck Lake Rd NFSR #888 and Jim Lakes Road NFSR #9568 is scheduled to begin Monday, July 30, 2012, weather permitting. The Peck Lake Road will be closed during the week of July 30 to August 3 as an existing pipe is replaced with a larger one. This is located on the northern portion of the connector road between Piper Creek and Cold Creek Roads and affects access to private lands and residences in the area.

Beginning the week of August 6, 2012, contractors will replace two existing bridges on the North Fork of Cold Creek on Jim Lakes Road. This involves replacing the existing wooden bridges with precast concrete bridges. The Jim Lakes Road will likely remain closed for the entire month of August. This will affect access into the Mission Mountain Wilderness via the Jim Lakes Basin and the North Fork of Cold Creek trailheads.

For more information, please contact the Swan Lake Ranger District at 406-837-7500.



Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Map & Compass

In this episode of the Colorado Parks & Wildlife outdoor survival video series, outdoor expert Peter Kummerfeldt discusses the use of maps and compass in the field:




Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Friday, July 20, 2012

Video of Going-to-the-Sun Road Rockslide

Below is some fairly dramatic video footage of the rock and mud slides that occurred on the Going-to-the-Sun Road this past Tuesday. After seeing this, I can only think that it's extremely fortunate that no one was seriously injured:





Jeff
Hikes in Glacier National Park

Update on Trails to Glacier's Backcountry Chalets

According to the latest Trail Status update on the park website, the trail to the Granite Park Chalet from the Loop, is now open. As of Monday, snow cover on the trail was noted as being >1%.

The Highline Trail from Logan Pass, however remains closed due to snow. The trail is expected to open on 8/3/12.

The trail to Sperry Chalet from Lake McDonald is cleared to within a half-mile of the Chalet. According to the latest report there are 2 trees down, and the trail still has 15% snow cover. However, according to the most recent posting on the Sperry Chalet website:

"the first adventurers to try (hiking it) have reported it to be challenging but passable. You will want to bring some trekking poles and extra traction for your shoes if you want to attempt Sperry Glacier soon. Lincoln Pass to Lake Ellen Wilson still has significant snow cover as well."

If you wish to visit the chalet via the Gunsight Pass Trail, please note that:

"We would advise avoiding the Gunsight Pass Trail for the month of July. We do not yet have any good firsthand accounts of conditions at Gunsight Pass, but historically we know that when these snow conditions exist in the high country, there are some extremely dangerous snow crossings on the east side of the pass. If you want to attempt it, we recommend climbing gear, ice axes, well practiced self arrest skills, and experienced hiking buddies. Be safe out there."


Jeff
Glacier National Park Hiking

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is Now Open

All 50 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park are now open to vehicle travel. Public access between Avalanche Creek and Logan Pass resumed at approximately 2:30 p.m. today after park road crews and contractors finished removing debris from the 12 rock and mud slides that occurred Tuesday afternoon.

Sixteen miles of the Sun Road were closed Tuesday afternoon after Glacier National Park Dispatch received report of rock and mud slides above The Loop to an area near Triple Arches. Road clearing efforts began immediately as park employees and road contractors ensured visitors and vehicles were safely removed from the area.

Road clearing efforts involved use of equipment and hand shoveling to remove debris on the road and in culverts and ditches. HK Contractors, Inc., road rehabilitation contractors, aided park staff with road clearing efforts, often working outside their construction zones to deliver a safe and timely re-opening.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for Glacier National Park tomorrow from noon to midnight. Heavy rain, lightning, hail, and winds up to 60 miles per hour may occur. Rainfall up to 2 inches per hour is forecasted. Visitors are reminded to drive cautiously and stay alert for signs of slides when driving the Sun Road.

For any changes to road status, please check with the Park's website. To keep up-to-date on all the latest weather developments you can visit our Glacier Park weather page.


Jeff
Hikes in Glacier National Park

Logan Pass Star Party Cancelled

I just saw on the Glacier National Park Facebook page that the Logan Pass Star Party is cancelled for this weekend (July 20 and July 21). According to the park posting:

We are expecting a powerful storm through northwest Montana on Friday night. The Weather Service is predicting very unfavorable conditions including up to 2 inches of rain per hour, 1-inch hail, and winds up to 60 mph. The park is also under a flash flood watch for this period. We will have regular night viewing at Apgar and St. Mary on Saturday night if skies are clear. The next Logan Pass Star Party is scheduled for August 17th.

Obviously this weather system will have an impact on day hikers as well as backpackers. To keep up-to-date on all the latest weather developments you can visit our Glacier Park weather page.


Jeff
Glacier National Park Hiking

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crews Continue to Remove Debris on the Going-to-the-Sun Road

It is estimated that approximately 800-900 cubic yards of material remains on the Going-to-the-Sun Road near Big Bend as a result of rock and mud slides on Tuesday afternoon. Approximately 12 slides occurred above The Loop to an area near the Triple Arches. The road is closed from Avalanche Creek to Logan Pass, and it is anticipated to be open by Thursday evening, weather and road conditions permitting.

Glacier National Park road crews and members of the road rehabilitation contractor, HK Contractors, Inc., began road clearing efforts Tuesday evening, and have been working all day today. Debris remains on the road and in culverts and ditches. Various equipment and hand shoveling are being utilized to remove debris.

Almost 150 vehicles were in the area during Tuesday's incident. One vehicle sustained damage that required a tow truck to remove it from the area and the occupants of that vehicle sustained minor injuries that were attended to at the scene. No one was seriously injured. A short and heavy rain event was reported Tuesday afternoon that triggered the slides.

The Avalanche Creek area is very congested and visitors are encouraged to explore other areas of the park during this time.

For the latest road status information you can visit the park's website here. Additional photos of the incident are available here.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Update on the Going-to-the-Sun Road Closure

A short heavy rain event on Tuesday afternoon triggered several mud and rock slides on the Going-to-the-Sun Road prompting the closure of the road between Avalanche Creek and Logan Pass. The closure will be in effect through the night and it is unknown at this time when the closure will be lifted.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. Glacier National Park Dispatch received reports of several mud and rock slides along approximately 5 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road located above The Loop to an area near Triple Arches. Park rangers, road contractors and other National Park Service employees responded to the incident. Two visitors sustained minor injuries and were attended to by park rangers, and a visitor with diabetic needs was transported to a medical facility by Three Rivers Ambulance.

Approximately 10 vehicles were trapped in the slide area. One vehicle incurred damage and will be towed, and several vehicles are being escorted out of the closure area via one lane of traffic as rocks and debris are removed.

In all, there were approximately 12 slide locations between the Loop and Triple Arches. Park and contractor equipment is being used to remove and move debris.

You can visit the road status information on the park's website here.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Fire Restrictions Lifted for Yellowstone National Park

Recent rainfall received over most of Yellowstone National Park has increased fuel moistures to the point that the prohibition on open campfires has been lifted.

The increased precipitation also helped wildland firefighting crews suppress the Blacktail Fire near the park's northern boundary. The fire, which began July 12 and reached 29 acres, is approximately 95 percent contained, with full containment expected by next week. The 8 smoke jumpers and 5 helitack crew members who initially attacked the fire have been replaced by a 4-person wildland fire crew assigned to the park from Saguaro National Park to assist with mop-up and patrol efforts.

The lifting of the fire restrictions does not remove the responsibility for visitors to ensure that all campfires are fully extinguished, never left unattended, and are only in areas designated for their use. Visitors are reminded to be cautious when smoking in any area where there are combustible fuels.

As always, anyone negligently or willfully starting a wildland fire can be held responsible for the cost of the fire and charged with a crime.

To report any wildland fire observed in Yellowstone National Park, please call 911.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Landslide shuts down section of Going-to-the-Sun Road

Glacier Park visitors should note that a large rock and mud slide has forced the closure of the Going-to-the-Sun Road between Avalanche Creek and Logan Pass on the west side of the park. The 16-mile stretch of road was closed late this afternoon. Visitors can still drive 15.5 miles from the West Entrance to Avalanche, and 18.5 miles from the St. Mary Entrance to Logan Pass.

At this point there's no word as to when the road will reopen. For the latest information you can click onto this Glacier Park web page.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Monday, July 16, 2012

Grand Teton Association Celebrates 75 Years With Several Events This Week

Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott and the staff of Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway toast the Grand Teton Association (GTA) as they mark their 75th anniversary as a non-profit partner in support of Grand Teton National Park, the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Caribou-Targhee National Forest and the National Elk Refuge. As part of this milestone, the Association will offer programs and discounts during its "Member's Week" from July 16-20.

Events on tap this week include:

Tuesday, July 17 (9 a.m.) - a demonstration by the Teton Raptor Center, featuring live birds on the lawn of the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center at North Cache.

Wednesday, July 18 (10 a.m.) - a presentation by Andrew Langford about mountain men and their lives in the American West at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming.

Wednesday, July 18 (10 a.m.) -a demonstration by Jenny Lake rangers about climbing and rescue operations at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center.

Thursday, July 19 (1-4 p.m.) - a book signing event featuring numerous local authors at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming.

Friday, July 20 (10 a.m.) - a demonstration on canine search and rescue at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center at North Cache.

During the coming week, GTA members will receive 25% discount at all Association locations. These locations include visitor centers throughout Grand Teton and the JDR Parkway and at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center. The GTA also operates gift shops at Menor's Ferry, the Jackson Hole Airport, Miller House on the National Elk Refuge, and bookstores at several locations through the Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee national forests. Interpretive and educational items sold by the Association help to increase visitors' knowledge and appreciation of national parks and surrounding public lands.

The seed for the Grand Teton Association was planted in December of 1936, when Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Thomas Whitcraft met with a group of Jackson Hole businessmen to discuss forming an association to provide written educational materials to park visitors. As a result of that meeting, the Jackson Hole Museum and Historical Association was formed in 1937. A local businessman donated fifty dollars to begin purchasing publications, and a fledgling board of directors selected the first advisory committee consisting of Dr. Fritiof Fryxell (Grand Teton's first naturalist), Olaus Murie, Stephen Leek, and Harrison Crandall, among others. In 1956, the Jackson Hole Museum and Historical Association changed its name to Grand Teton Natural History Association, and the current board approved a name change to Grand Teton Association on June 6, 2007.

"The Grand Teton Association continues to be a key partner that helps us accomplish our NPS mission of providing education and inspiration for today's park visitors, and for future generations," said Superintendent Scott. "We greatly appreciate their passion, dedication, and commitment toward ensuring that visitors have a rich, enjoyable, and educational park experience."

For further information, go to www.grandtetonpark.org.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Survival Kit

In this episode of the Colorado Parks & Wildlife outdoor survival video series, outdoor expert Peter Kummerfeldt discusses the survival kit, including the three main components of that kit: fire, shelter and signal.




Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Missing Climber Found Dead in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park rangers located the body of Eric Tietze, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah about 3:30 p.m. Friday, July 13, after a daylong search of the central Teton peaks by ground and air. Tietze and three climbing partners were attempting to complete a climb of the Cathedral Traverse on Thursday, July 12, when he separated from his group and moved ahead of them on the route. Tietze apparently fell about 500-600 feet to his death shortly after leaving his friends. Tietze, a long-time Bridger-Teton National Forest employee, has worked 10 seasons on the Forest's trail crew.

Tietze separated from his partners as they were completing the final rappels off of a shoulder peak west of Teewinot Mountain. The last time Tietze's party saw him was about 10:30 a.m. His group continued the climb and summited Mount Owen where they waited for their friend. After Tietze failed to meet his group on the summit, the three partners backtracked and attempted a search for their friend until 7:30 p.m.

Tietze's party notified Teton Interagency Dispatch Center of their missing friend at 10 p.m. after they hiked out to the Lupine Meadows trailhead. The park's search and rescue (SAR) coordinator for the day began organizing a SAR operation that would begin at first light Friday morning, and two rangers on a routine backcountry patrol on the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton were subsequently contacted.

Early Friday morning, the two rangers climbed from the Lower Saddle to the second ledges on the North Face of the Grand Teton and began searching with binoculars for Tietze. A Teton Interagency contract helicopter responded to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache at 7:30 a.m. Friday to conduct an aerial search as well. Two separate hour-long reconnaissance flights were conducted of likely areas where Tietze may have traveled; however no conclusive evidence of Tietze's possible whereabouts was provided by these reconnaissance flights.

A second Teton Interagency contract helicopter responded to Lupine Meadows just before 11 a.m. With the help of a second helicopter, rescuers decided to focus on two specific areas. One helicopter was sent to a landing zone on the Teton Glacier located in the cirque of the Grand Teton, Mount Owen, and Teewinot Mountain. The second ship was assigned to base out of a landing zone in lower Valhalla Canyon located northwest of the Grand Teton. The ship based out of Valhalla Canyon flew one rescuer, who was suspended on a short-haul rope below the helicopter, and dropped the rescuer down into crevasses and moats that cleave the permanent snowfields. The second helicopter based from Teton Glacier flew additional reconnaissance flights with three rangers inside the ship. Due to conditions and hazards in these areas, park rangers determined it would not be safe to insert rescuers onto snowfields for a ground-based search.

Rangers located Tietze's body on the East Prong feature between Teewinot and Mount Owen about 500 feet below an area that requires a notably challenging climbing move. One ranger was inserted via short-haul to the location and prepared Tietze for a short-haul extraction. Tietze was flown from the mountain to Lupine Meadows where his body was turned over to the Teton County coroner's office at 8:50 p.m.

Weather delayed recovery efforts Friday afternoon. Throughout the day, park rangers at the Lupine Meadows rescue cache were in contact with local weatherman, and former climbing ranger, Jim Woodmency for weather updates because storm cells and lightning were expected by afternoon.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to offer Bear Aware Seminars

The ever important topic of bear awareness and safety among hikers, campers and others who enjoy the outdoors will be featured at a free presentation in Helena, Wednesday, July 16 at Montana Wild, 2668 Broadwater Ave., next to Spring Meadow Lake State Park off Highway 12 West.

Participants will learn about the current status of Montana’s grizzly bear population and how to hike in bear country, recognize bear signs and bear behavior, avoid and respond to bear encounters, create a safe campsite, and properly use bear spray. The 90-minute program begins at 6 p.m. For more information and to RSVP call 406-444-9944.

Also, the Missouri Headwaters State Park will hold a “Montana Bear Awareness” presentation at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 21st. For more information on this event, please click here.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rangers Rescue Stranded Climber from Middle Teton

An Olympia, Washington man who became stranded on the Middle Teton on Monday, July 9, was rescued by Grand Teton National Park rangers the following day. Eric Rohner, 27, intended a solo summit of the Middle Teton on Monday but traveled off route and became 'cliffed out.' Rohner ended up in a location from which he did not feel he could safely get down without risk of injury.

Rohner placed a 911 call for help just after 1 a.m. Tuesday morning. The call was received by Teton Valley, Idaho and transferred to Teton Interagency Dispatch Center in Grand Teton National Park. The ranger who was scheduled to coordinated rescues on Monday was able to communicate directly with Rohner via cell phone and determine that he had enough food and water, as well as appropriate gear and extra clothing, to spend the night on the Middle Teton. Rescue operations began at 4:30 Tuesday morning as two rangers started hiking at first light.

Rangers were not able to locate Rohner from the ground. Fortunately, a Teton Interagency contract helicopter was scheduled to be at Lupine Meadows for short-haul training that day, so rangers decided to deploy that ship for a reconnaissance flight to pinpoint Rohner's location on the mountain.

During a 10:15 a.m. flight, rangers and the helicopter pilot determined the best rescue plan was to short-haul Rohner from his precarious location to a landing zone in the South Fork of Garnet Canyon. From there, park rangers escorted Rohner down the canyon. A technical lowering and rescue by ground was estimated to require six people and approximately six hours to perform, exposing more rescuers to hazardous terrain for a longer period of time.

Once in a hazardous situation, Rohner made sound decisions; he stayed put, called for help, followed rescuer instructions, and he was prepared to spend an unexpected night having brought extra food, water, and clothing. This decision may very well have prevented Rohner from getting seriously injured or worse.

The Middle Teton is viewed as having a relatively straightforward route to a high summit. However, it is imperative that climbers attempting the summit have good route finding skills, pay attention to where they are, and follow the directions of park rangers. Tempting shortcuts and a lack of attention, among other factors, have resulted in a need for numerous rescue operations on this peak.

Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual is suspended below the helicopter on a 100 to 200 foot rope. This method allows a rescuer more direct access to an injured party, and it is often used in the Teton Range where conditions make it difficult to land a helicopter in the steep and rocky terrain. This is the third major search and rescue in the mountain for summer 2012.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Public Invited to Noxious Weed Blitz in Glacier

Glacier National Park's Citizen Science Program announces two opportunities to help with early detection of invasive plants along park trails: Noxious Weed Blitz on July 17 and an on-line training course for the Invasive Plant Citizen Science program. Both opportunities are free of charge and open to the public.

The third annual Noxious Weed Blitz will take place on Tuesday, July 17 from 10:00am to 4:00pm, meeting at the park's Community Building in West Glacier. Participants will be trained to assist the Invasive Plant Management Program by learning to identify, map, and pull invasive plants. A free lunch will be provided by the Glacier National Park Fund. Be prepared to spend the afternoon in the outdoors, pulling invasive plants. Please bring gloves for hand pulling, footwear for hiking, and drinking water.

Additionally, a new on-line training opportunity teaches participants how to identify five targeted invasive plants, conduct surveys, and map locations of invasive plants using GPS units. Once training has been completed, visitors may check-out GPS units from the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center to detect invasive plants while in the park. The on-line training program can be accessed here.

The Invasive Plant Management Program at Glacier manages non-native invasive plants that displace native flora, interrupt ecological processes, or degrade natural scenery. Most infestations of invasive plants in the park are closely correlated to disturbed areas such as roadsides, recreational areas, and construction sites. However, the 700 miles of backcountry trails also provide a corridor for invasive plants to spread and monitoring is often difficult.

In 2008, the Invasive Plant Management Program and Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center established a citizen science program to enlist the help of the public to map the spread of invasive species in the backcountry. The Citizen Science Program is supported by the Glacier National Park Fund, fostering stewardship while providing critical baseline information on Common Loons, mountain goats, pikas, and invasive plants. For more information about the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center click here.

Attending the Noxious Weed Blitz or completing on-line training enables participants to continue monitoring invasive plants during future hikes in the backcountry. To sign-up for the Noxious Weed Blitz or learn more about the event please contact the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at 406-888-7986 or send an email.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Proposal to Replace East Side Park Housing

Glacier National Park is requesting public comment on a proposal to construct replacement employee housing in the Swiftcurrent employee housing area at Many Glacier and in the East Glacier Ranger Station compound. This action would replace ten National Park Service (NPS) owned trailers in the St. Mary District employee housing area which are severely deteriorating from age, rodent infestations, mold, and other factors.

Installed in the 1960s, the trailers were intended to be temporary. Lack of funding for permanent housing has led to their continued use to this day. One trailer has been condemned and three others have been removed from the housing list due to their poor condition.

Over the years, a number of locations have been considered, both inside and outside the park, in which to construct new housing to replace the trailers. The Swiftcurrent housing area at Many Glacier and the ranger station compound in East Glacier were initially dismissed due to long commuting distances for employees. Currently, these areas are considered the best options for replacement housing. Both have adequate existing utilities and building at the sites would cause the least amount of new disturbance. Both of these areas are historic districts.

In accordance with Executive Order 11988 (Floodplain Management) and NPS policy, housing will not be rebuilt at the existing site in St. Mary because it is within the Divide Creek floodplain. Removing the St. Mary trailers will be a first step toward implementing a decision from the 1999 General Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision (GMP) to relocate all St. Mary infrastructure out of the Divide Creek flood hazard zone. Divide Creek floods frequently, usually as a result of rain-on-snow events, putting human safety and government property at potential risk. The park has a flood warning system and evacuation/response plan in place, and the stream channel has been stabilized by the Blackfeet Tribe and NPS to minimize flood risk. But as stated in the GMP, "Stabilization… is in direct conflict with NPS policy on resource management" and does not adequately ensure the safety of park employees and visitors.

Three alternatives have been identified to date: 1) no action - do not replace employee housing once the St. Mary trailers are removed; 2) construct replacement housing in the Swiftcurrent housing area at Many Glacier and at the NPS ranger station compound in East Glacier; and 3) construct replacement housing behind the 1913 St. Mary Ranger Station, above the St. Mary Campground, at Rising Sun, or outside the park.

The public scoping brochure contains additional information about this project and is available on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website. Comments can be posted on the website or mailed to Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: East Side Housing EA, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT, 59936. Comments are due by August 6, 2012. There will be another opportunity to comment when the plan/Environmental Assessment is completed.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Ranger-Led Activities Schedule Through August 4th

The latest Ranger-Led Activities schedule is now posted on the park website. If you have a fear of hiking in grizzly country, ranger-led hikes provide an excellent opportunity to see some of the best of what the park has to offer, in the relative safety of a group.

In addition to the many hiking opportunities, rangers also provide several other activities such as boat tours, talks and evening programs, as well as Solar Viewing and Glacier's Night Sky programs, both of which begin today.

The Solar Viewing program allows visitors to drop by and take a unique look at the Earth’s closest star through a solar telescope, on select days, anytime between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. The program takes place at the Apgar Village Green, roughly 100 yards north of the Apgar Visitor Center.

Glacier’s Night Sky programs allow visitors to join an astronomer-in-the-park to view the night sky through a telescope. Evening telescope viewing will be available Wednesday through Sunday at the Apgar Transit Center and daily at the St. Mary Visitor Center, from 10:00 p.m. to midnight, weather and sky visibility dependent.

Additionally, the St. Mary Visitor Center is currently screening the documentary "The City Dark" every Tuesday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. The film highlights the story of light pollution and disappearing night skies.

To view the entire activity schedule, please click here. For more in-depth information on many of the hikes on the schedule, please click here.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Glacier Acquires Second Largest Remaining Private Property in Park

Earlier this week the National Park Service announced that it has acquired the second largest privately owned property remaining in Glacier National Park. The 120-acre property, which was the home of one of the first park rangers in Glacier National Park's history, is now part of the park.

The property, which was in private ownership but located entirely within the park boundary, is on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River near Harrison Lake. It was originally settled by Dan Doody, who was appointed as one of the first six Glacier rangers after the park was created in 1910. The property is a popular stop along the river due to its unique history and the recreational access it provides.

The Trust for Public Land purchased the property for $900,000 and sold it to NPS for the same price. The money came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the federal government's main source of money for protecting land. It is funded by royalties paid by energy companies in exchange for oil and gas extraction from federal offshore leases.

Alex Diekmann, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land, said, "This is a classic win-win. It protects the Middle Fork of the Flathead for all the people who enjoy it, and it also protects a part of the park's more colorful history."

Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright said, "We greatly value the partnership the National Park Service has with The Trust for Public Land. Through this partnership, we have successfully retained this property that is an integral part of a wildlife migration corridor linking protected lands of Glacier National Park and the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem."

The Doody homestead was one of the two largest privately-held properties within the park and is used by a variety of animals, including mountain lion, grizzly and black bears, moose, deer, and bald eagles. The property also protects wildlife habitat along the Flathead.

Doody was a prospector, outfitter, and one of the park's first rangers, but was later fired for excessive poaching of the park's wildlife. After he died in 1921, his wife, Josephine, lived in their two-story log hunting lodge. She was also a moonshiner whose product was so well-known that passing trains on the Great Northern Railroad would stop and blow their whistles to signal the number of quarts the engineers wanted delivered. She lived on the property until 1931.

"One of the great privileges of providing rafting trips on the Middle Fork of the Flathead is being able to educate our guests about Glacier and to share the historic significance of early settlers of the area. The legends of the Doodys, both Dan and Josephine, have provided many good tales of lore for us to share with our rafting guests as we float past their former homestead property. We are so pleased that this purchase was brought about by all the hard work of The Trust for Public Land and the National Park Service," said Sally Thompson co-owner, Glacier Raft Company.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Glacier Park Trail Status Updates

Park crews continue to make progress on clearing trails in the upper elevations of the park. According to the latest Trail Status Update on the Glacier National Park website, the following trails are now open and free of snow:

* The Loop up to the Granite Park Chalet

* Cracker Lake

* Iceberg Lake

* Gunsight Lake

* Scenic Point

At this point, the Highline Trail from Logan Pass, Swiftcurrent Pass, Gunsight Pass, Piegan Pass, Siyeh Pass, Dawson Pass and Pitamakan Pass are all either closed, or have snow cover requiring route finding skills.

To view all updates, you can visit the park website here.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Many Glacier Hotel Rehabilitation Project Progresses

The National Park Service has made significant progress towards a seven-phase rehabilitation effort on the Many Glacier Hotel, a National Historic Landmark in Glacier National Park. The hotel's north annex and dining room have been rehabilitated, including 111 guest rooms, kitchen, lounge, administrative offices, and employee areas. Accessible parking and improved guest room access has also been addressed.

Rehabilitation began in 2001 with a massive structural stabilization project, involving hydraulic jacks to push the hotel's lakeside walls back in place while cables pulled from the other side. The first several phases of work focused on building exterior and structural stabilization. In the fall of 2010, Montana-based construction company, Swank Enterprises, began interior work in the north annex and dining room of the hotel. Life safety issues addressed include seismic stabilization and replacing of electrical, plumbing, mechanical, fire alarm and fire suppression systems. The dining room's dropped ceiling was removed, exposing original timbers and steel trusses. Original window configuration was restored. Japanese lantern and umbrella style light fixtures were installed in the dining room, reflecting original fixtures used by the Great Northern Railroad.

Built between 1914 and 1915 by the Great Northern Railroad, the 214-guest room Many Glacier Hotel is the primary visitor service facility on the east side of the park. The hotel hosts approximately 500,000 visitors annually, including about 46,000 overnight guests. In 1996, the Many Glacier Hotel was among more than 300 historic structures at Glacier to be included on the Trust for Historic Preservation's list of "America's Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places." As much as 80% of the hotel's structure was deficient in its ability to resist seismic events and the state of deterioration warranted serious concern for health and safety issues. The park's General Management Plan of 1999 agreed with that assessment and designated the deterioration of the hotel as a critical issue.

To date, $25 million of federal funds has contributed to the Many Glacier Hotel rehabilitation work. The project received $7 million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds through a competitive agency submission process for work completed in 2011 and 2012. Glacier Park Inc., park concessioner, funded additional soundproofing and finish work, and replaced all furnishings in renovated north annex guest rooms and the dining room for the 2012 visitor season.

Two phases of the Many Glacier Hotel rehabilitation project remain and $12 million is the amount estimated for completion. Funds have been requested, but not yet secured. The last phases of work will focus on seismic stabilization, critical system replacement and code issues on the southern half of the hotel, including the lobby, remaining 103 guest rooms, and lower -level meeting spaces.

The Many Glacier Hotel will be open until September 23rd for the 2012 season. For more information regarding rehabilitation efforts, please contact the park at 406-888-7800. To see a photo of the rehabilitated dining room, please vivit the Glacier Park Flickr website.



Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Moose-Wilson Road in Grand Tetons to Close Tomorrow for Dust Treatment

A brief travel closure will be in effect on the unpaved section of the Moose-Wilson Road in Grand Teton National Park for about 28 hours, beginning at 4 a.m. tomorrow, July 11. The road is scheduled to reopen by 8 a.m. on Thursday, July 12, barring equipment malfunction or rainy weather. The temporary closure is scheduled to accommodate dust abatement work; this is the second application this summer.

Road crews will complete this project in the shortest time possible. Local residents and park visitors are advised to plan ahead and use an alternate route because this temporary closure prevents the ability to make a 'through trip' on the Moose-Wilson Road.

For those wishing to reach the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve or Death Canyon trailhead, access will be possible by driving south from the Teton Park Road junction adjacent to the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming.

To alert travelers of the expected daytime road closure, electronic signs will be placed on Wyoming Highway 390, beginning Tuesday, July 10. For motorists heading south to Teton Village from Moose, signs will also be placed at the junction of the Teton Park Road. The product used for dust abatement is a slurry of magnesium chloride-the same product that is used to treat dirt roads in and around Jackson Hole.

This product coats the road surface, but it can also adhere to the undercarriage of vehicles. Therefore, motorists who drive this portion of the Moose-Wilson Road after it reopens on Thursday may want to rinse off their vehicles to eliminate any residue.

Roadwork schedules may change, or be delayed, due to weather conditions, equipment malfunction, or other extenuating circumstances.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Monday, July 9, 2012

Video: Bison Goring in Yellowstone

A couple of weeks ago I posted a news item about a man in Yellowstone Park that was gored by a bison after refusing to yield to the animal. I followed that up with a story about a couple who had a very close encounter with a small herd of bison a few years back. Yesterday, I discovered this video that was posted on the Yellowstone National Park Youtube channel. Someone, somehow captured a man being gored and flipped into the air by a bull bison. Although the man appears to have regained himself in the video, he apparently was taken to the hospital afterwards. This, by the way, was not the same incident reported on 6/27.




Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Sunday, July 8, 2012

2012 Share the Experience Photo Contest

The National Park Foundation and their partners are once again promoting the Share the Experience photo contest. The annual contest is the largest national park and public land photo contest for amateur photographers, and runs now through December 31, 2012.

The annual contest, now in its 12th year, provides an opportunity for amateur photographers to submit pictures taken at any federal lands site for the chance of having their image selected for use on the America the Beautiful Federal Recreation Lands Pass. Approximately 500,000 passes are utilized annually.

Drawing entries from across the country, the contest receives approximately 14,000 submissions each year. Contestants are encouraged to take pictures spanning the more than 500 million acres of Federal Lands. The contest is seeking photos from amateur photographers that highlight the best of America's federal lands, national parks and historical sites in these categories:

* Adventure & Outdoor Recreation

* Historical & Cultural

* Scenic, Seasons & Landscapes

* Friends, Family & Fun(ny) on Federal Lands

* Wildlife

Active Network and the National Park Foundation will manage the photo contest on behalf of the National Park Service and other participating federal agencies. Active Network is also sponsoring the three top prizes, including a $15,000 grand prize.

Entries will be accepted through December 31, 2012, and all contestants must be at least 13 years of age. Contestants are able to view a complete list of rules and prizes as well as submit their photos directly at: www.sharetheexperience.org.

Good luck!


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Outdoor Survival - Controlling Panic

In this episode of the Colorado Parks & Wildlife outdoor survival video series, outdoor expert Peter Kummerfeldt discusses controlling panic, including the elements of S.T.O.P.:




Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

Friday, July 6, 2012

Injured Man Rescued from the Grand Teton

Amid stormy weather and with low cloud cover, Grand Teton National Park rangers assisted by a Teton Interagency helicopter rescued a New York man from the Grand Teton yesterday evening. David Perlman, 28, of Brooklyn, New York was ascending the mountain between the Headwall and Lower Saddle around 6:00 p.m. when several rocks broke free striking him and causing a significant injury.

A member of Perlman's climbing party continued to the Lower Saddle for help. There, two park rangers on a routine backcountry patrol were notified of the incident and immediately initiated a rescue operation. Once on scene, rangers stabilized Perlman's injury and provided emergency medical care. With the help of other climbers in the area, rangers brought Perlman to the park's seasonal hut on the Lower Saddle where they waited for a helicopter to evacuate him from the mountain.

Pearlman was loaded inside the helicopter and flown to Lupine Meadows where he was met by a park ambulance and transported to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming for further care. Perlman was on the first day of a two-day guided climb of the mountain when he was injured.

The use of a Teton Interagency helicopter is a great rescue tool that can allow quick, direct, and efficient access to an injured person. However, the use of a helicopter is not always guaranteed. During this rescue, a skilled pilot was able to reach the Lower Saddle through a break in the cloud cover around 12,000 feet, which made the flight possible.

Rangers always have contingency plans in mind in the event a flight is not possible due to weather (cloud cover, precipitation, and wind speed) or other factors like the location of an injured person or time of day. If a flight was not possible for Perlman's rescue, additional rangers would have hiked from the valley floor to the Lower Saddle to assist in caring for Perlman throughout the night.

A seasonal hut is erected for the summer months on the Grand Teton's Lower Saddle and serves as a high altitude base camp to assist park rangers on multi-day backcountry patrols and to facilitate rescue operations in the hub of Teton climbing and mountaineering.





Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com