Thursday, February 28, 2013

Glacier Park Concessions Prospectus Modified

Modifications have been made to the prospectus for the award of a new concession contract to provide lodging, food and beverage, retail and other visitor services in Glacier National Park. Most of the modifications are related to the management of the iconic red bus fleet in response to concerns raised by the public. The modifications include a requirement for the selected concessioner to rehabilitate the red bus fleet to maintain the buses in a road worthy and safe condition for road-based tours and ensure a fleet of 33 red buses. Conditions assessments of all buses will be required every five years. Another modification requires the selected concessioner to establish and manage a Red Bus Rehabilitation Reserve to ensure the availability of funds to rehabilitate the buses as needed. The reserve funding will be dedicated to the perpetual care of the bus fleet.

Acting Glacier National Park Superintendent Kym Hall said, "We believe the modifications to the prospectus clearly define our intent to maintain the iconic red bus fleet at Glacier National Park. We want visitors to have the opportunity to enjoy the traditional experience of the red buses for years to come."

The deadline for submitting a proposal for the concession contract to provide lodging, food and beverage, retail and other visitor services at Glacier National Park has been extended to April 2, 2013.

The current concession contract for this service, held by Glacier Park, Inc. since 1981, will expire on December 31, 2013. The new 16-year concession contract is anticipated to take effect January 1, 2014. The contract is for seasonal concession operations at five lodging locations, ten food and beverage locations, eight retail locations, road-based tours and transportation-related operations, and other services in Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park Hiking

New Xanterra Parks & Resorts Contract in Yellowstone Calls For $134.5 Million in Facilities Improvements

The National Park Service has selected Xanterra Parks & Resorts to provide a wide range of visitor services in Yellowstone National Park for the next two decades.

The contract covers lodging, retail sales, restaurants, and many other services provided to visitors to Yellowstone.

The new 20-year contract includes a 4.5-percent franchise fee and a 6-percent repair and maintenance reserve account.

The contract also requires an estimated $134.5 million investment in facilities improvements. Roughly half of the money will be invested in redevelopment of lodging at Canyon. The current cabins, which were constructed as temporary facilities in the 1960s, are in poor condition. Other projects include renovation of the Fishing Bridge RV Park, continued renovation of the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, construction of new concession employee housing at Lake and Old Faithful, rehabilitation of the Mammoth Haynes Photo Shop, and changes necessary to provide year-round lodging at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.

Work on these facility improvement projects is scheduled to begin in 2014 and to be completed by 2018.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts holds the current contract to provide these services, which began in December 2005 and expires at the end of November 2013. The company reported gross receipts of approximately $89 million for calendar year 2011.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Only A Few Days Left In Yellowstone's Winter Season

Yellowstone National Park's winter season is drawing to a close.

Park roads that serve commercially guided snowmobile and snowcoach travel to iconic Yellowstone locations will be closed in stages beginning Friday, March 1, when the East Entrance will close at 9:00 p.m.

Oversnow travel into the park from Mammoth Hot Springs will end at 9:00 p.m., Sunday, March 3.

Visitors traveling with a commercial guide service through the West Entrance will be able to enjoy the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone at Canyon Village by way of Norris Geyser Basin until 9:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 5.

Travel to Canyon Village will be still be possible from the both the West and South Entrances via the West Thumb area until 9:00 p.m., Sunday, March 10.

Old Faithful will remain accessible from both the West and South Entrances until 9:00 p.m. Friday, March 15, when all remaining interior parks roads will close for the season.

After the roads close to oversnow travel, plowing crews will clear them of snow so they can reopen to automobile travel in the spring.

At Old Faithful, the Snow Lodge and Cabins will close for the winter season on Sunday, March 3. The Geyser Grill, Bear Den Gift Shop and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center will remain open through Friday, March 15.

At Mammoth Hot Springs, the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Dining Room and Gift Shop will close for the season Monday, March 4. The Mammoth Campground, Yellowstone General Store, Post Office, Medical Clinic, the Albright Visitor Center and self-serve fuel pumps are open all year.

The road from Gardiner, Montana, through the park's North Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana, is open to automobiles all year, weather permitting. Self-serve fuel is available all year at Tower Junction. Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Prescribed Fire Projects Planned on Swan Lake Ranger District

The Swan Lake Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest is planning to conduct multiple prescribed fire projects when weather, fuel conditions, and air quality become favorable this spring. Smoke will be visible from various places in the Flathead Valley and the Swan Valley depending on the location of the burn units and weather conditions.

The project areas include:

* Blacktail Mountain Area – Up to 72 acres of logging slash from previously logged areas will be treated with fire to reduce hazardous fuels as well as create favorable conditions for natural regeneration of plant and tree species.

* Haskill Mountain Area – This ecosystem burn project has targeted 128 acres of mid to upper elevation brush and conifer. Fire suppression has caused a change in species composition resulting in accumulations of woody material and an increased risk of stand replacement fire. Fire management will reintroduce fire to overall improve forest health and reduce the likelihood of intense wildfire.

* Crane Mountain Area – This work includes three units in the Estes Lake, Hunger Creek, and Crane Creek areas. Geographically the area is located several miles south of Ferndale, above Woods Bay, totaling 506 acres of under-burning. Objectives are to reintroduce fire to the landscape thus reducing hazardous fuels that have accumulated over the years. A temporary closure on Trail #96 into the Estes Lake Area may occur during burn operations.

* Meadow Smith and Cooney McKay– This project includes under-burning timber stands located within the Meadow and Smith Creek areas of the Swan Valley. These treatments will use prescribed fire for fuels reduction, vegetation regeneration, and wildlife habitat improvement.

* Holland Lake Area – This project includes under burning 135 acres of ponderosa pine stands as part of ecosystem health. Prescribed fire will be reintroduced to improve overall forest health and reduce the likelihood of intense wildfire.

* Pile Burning – Hand or Machine piles are located in several locations within the Swan Valley and Blacktail Mountain as a result of but not limited to: logging, hazardous fuels reduction in the wildland urban interface, hazard tree removal, and trail or road construction. These piles are burned to reduce the fuel loads in these areas. These piles are strategically burned based on their location, access, and weather conditions.

Each project follows a Prescribed Fire Burn Plan. The prescribed fire projects are located and designed to be controlled to reduce the potential for adverse effects, or to escape as a wildland fire. These projects will be in compliance with Montana air quality standards and coordinated with Montana State Department of Environmental Quality to reduce the impacts of smoke to our neighbors, cooperators, and surrounding communities.

For additional information about these projects contact the Swan Lake Ranger District in Bigfork at 406-837-7500.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Glacier National Park Visitors Add $97 Million to Local Economies

As the National Park Service moves closer to its second century, one of the key indicators of how parks are doing, and how the NPS is fulfilling its mission, is the economic impact that national parks have on America’s economy. According to a report compiled by Michigan State University, every dollar spent by the National Park Service, through Congressional appropriations, results in a $10 benefit to the national economy.

Using data gathered from parks and public data, economists at Michigan State examined the impacts visitor spending has on the local economy in terms of sales, income, and jobs in a report published yesterday called Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation, 2011. The information contained in this report will be used for planning, concessions management, budget justifications, policy analysis, and marketing.

According to the report, the National Park System received 278.9 million recreation visits in 2011, while park visitors spent $12.95 billion in local gateway regions (defined as within roughly 60 miles of a park). In total, park visitor spending supported 252,000 (mostly) local jobs.

The four local economic sectors most directly affected by visitor spending are lodging, restaurants, retail trade, and recreation and entertainment. Spending from these sources supported 45,200 jobs in restaurants and bars, 34,100 jobs in lodging sectors, 15,500 jobs in the retail and wholesale trade, and 20,000 jobs in recreation and entertainment.

Visitors staying overnight outside the park (in motels, hotels, cabins, and bed & breakfasts) accounted for 54.9% of the total spending. About half (48%) of the spending was for lodging and meals, 21.4% for gas and local transportation, 9.7% for recreation and entertainment, 8.1% for groceries, and 12.7% for other retail purchases.

Visitors to Glacier National Park spent roughly $97,715,000 in the surrounding communities in 2011. This spending supported 1,337 jobs within the local communities.

As a comparison, visitors to Yellowstone National Park spent roughly $332,975,000, which supported 5,041 jobs. Visitors to Grand Teton National Park spent roughly $436,416,000, which supported 6,352 jobs.

You can view the entire NPS report by clicking here.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Monday, February 25, 2013

Amazing Aerial Views of Glacier National Park

Last year a friend of sent me several amazing photos that were taken during a couple of helicopter tours over Glacier National Park. Given that it's the dead of winter, I thought I would re-publish them to give you something to dream about as we wait for warmer weather. Although the photos were taken from a phone camera, they're still absolutely stunning:

Here's Iceberg Lake:

Here's a view of Cracker Lake like none you've ever seen before:

The last two photos are of Grinnell Glacier:

Thanks to again Jarica for sharing these with all of us!

Glacier National Park Hiking

Sunday, February 24, 2013

GNPC Announces Additional Grants to Glacier National Park for 2013

This past week the Board of Trustees of the Glacier National Park Conservancy (GNPC) announced that they have awarded an additional $30,000 to fund four projects to the already announced nine grants to Glacier National Park. These funds come from the sale of the Montana Glacier National Park specialty license plate as well as from annual fund donors who have allowed the Trustees to allocate these funds as needed by the Park.
As National Park budgets continue to be challenging, we want to provide support to the Park and assist in meeting the needs of the roughly two million visitors to the park each year. We have an opportunity to “step up to the plate” and increase our role as the official philanthropic partner of Glacier National Park by supporting education, research, visitor experience and preservation needs in the Park. We must continue to support the needs of the visitor while preserving the delicate ecosystem and the habitat of wildlife that live in the Park. The history of private/public partnerships has a long history in Glacier National Park. “We are fortunate to have so many wonderful donors - locally and across the country - who love Glacier National Park and understand the importance of giving back to ensure that others will be able to enjoy the Park well into the future.” says Jane Ratzlaff of GNPC.
The following four additional grants have been awarded for 2013:

- Museum Storage Project

- Construct Overlook at Redrocks Parking Area

- Bearproof Storage Lockers

- Support for Youth Volunteer Groups

There are many other projects that still need to be funded in 2013. If you would like to support any of these projects in Glacier National Park, it's not too late. You can visit the donation page to make a general donation.

The Glacier National Park Conservancy is the official non-profit fundraising and retail partner for Glacier National Park. Their mission is to create a connection to Glacier National Park through outreach, philanthropy, education and interpretation. For further information, call 406-892-3250.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Plan To Protect Yellowstone's Native Vegetation Available For Public Review

A plan to protect Yellowstone's natural landscapes and native plant diversity from the spread of invasive plants has been released for public review.

The 2013 Invasive Vegetation Management Plan/Environmental Assessment (EA) would provide a park-wide comprehensive approach toward invasive vegetation management to preserve, protect and restore the diversity, ecological integrity, and processes associated with native plant communities in Yellowstone. If left unchecked, invasive nonnative plants could cause long-term harm to the park's natural and cultural resources.

The plan proposes to expand current invasive plant management efforts and implement a park-wide Integrated Weed Management (IWM) strategy to include:

• Preventing the entry and establishment of new invasive plants

• Controlling existing populations of invasive plants by eradicating them, reducing their abundance and density, and containing their spread

• Restoring native plant communities when they have been disrupted or replaced by invasive nonnative plant populations

The EA and an electronic form to submit comments on the internet can be found on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at A hard copy or CD of the EA is available by calling (307) 344-2515, or by writing to the Invasive Vegetation Plan EA, National Park Service, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.

Respondents are encouraged to submit their comments through the PEPC website. Comments may also be mailed to the address above or hand-delivered during normal business hours to the Mailroom in the park's Administration Building in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming. Comments will not be accepted by fax, e-mail, or in any other way than those specified above. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted. Comments must be received by midnight MST, March 22, 2013.

Once comments are analyzed, the National Park Service will make a decision on the final plan. The Regional Director of the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service will then sign a decision document, which is anticipated to occur in time to allow the park to move forward with conservation efforts this coming summer.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Friday, February 22, 2013

NPS Releases Final Winter Use Plan For Yellowstone National Park

The National Park Service announced today that is has released a final plan to guide the future of winter use in Yellowstone National Park.

Under the preferred alternative of the Final Winter Use Plan/Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), the park would manage oversnow vehicles based on their overall impacts to air quality, soundscapes, wildlife and visitors, rather than focusing on the number of snowmobiles and snowcoaches allowed in the park each day. The park would allow up to 110 "transportation events" a day, initially defined as either one snowcoach or on average a group of seven snowmobiles. No more than 50 transportation events a day would be allocated for groups of snowmobiles.

The preferred alternative would provide for one entry a day per entrance for a non-commercially guided group of up to five snowmobiles. It would continue to allow for motorized oversnow travel on the East Entrance road over Sylvan Pass.

The winter of 2013/2014 will be a transition year, during which the park will allow motorized oversnow travel under the same conditions in place for the past four winters: up to 318 commercially guided Best Available Technology snowmobiles and up to 78 commercially guided snowcoaches daily.

Additional information and an electronic copy of the Final Winter Use SEIS is available online.

A proposed rule to implement the preferred alternative will be released soon for a 60-day public review and comment period.

You can request a printed copy of the Final SEIS by contacting the National Park Service, Management Assistant's Office, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.

The Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park will use the analysis and recommendations contained in the Final SEIS to make a final recommendation to the National Park Service Intermountain Regional Director regarding the direction of winter use. The Regional Director is expected to issue the Record of Decision (ROD) sometime this spring.

Once the Record of Decision has been issued, a final rule to implement the decision will be published in the Federal Register in order to allow the parks to open for the winter 2013/2014 winter season.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Baucus reintroduces Rocky Mountain Heritage Act

U.S. Senator Max Baucus announced yesterday that he will be reintroducing the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, which seeks to protect public access to ranching, hunting and recreation. Baucus originally introduced similar legislation in October of 2011.

The act covers the scenic region where the Rocky Mountains meet the Plains, stretching from the area just north of Lincoln, toward the region just south of Glacier National Park. The bill would add 67,000 acres of wilderness to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, and designate 208,000 acres as a conservation management area that would limit road building.

"The Front is our heritage and our future. It is critical for Montana's economy. A recently released study shows 64,000 Montana jobs rely on outdoor recreation. Sportsmen spend around $10 million every year during hunting season on the Front," said Baucus.

According to the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front, the Heritage Act will retain over 300 miles of trails and roads on the Rocky Mountain Front, and will also provide flexibility to create new bike trails in the future. There would be no changes to mountain bikes from the way they are currently managed for the vast majority of public lands of the Front. The only exception is within the Deep Creek area, which would be designated as wilderness. Therefore, approximately 20 miles of trails would be closed to mountain bike use.

For more information you can visit the website for the Coalition to Protect the Rocky Mountain Front.

For more information on the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, please click here.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Will sequestration really delay the opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road?

Well, it looks like the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (CNPSR) is at once it again. Yesterday they published a press release that details information (purportedly leaked to them by the National Park Service) on how sequestration-related cuts will be implemented in our national parks. In the release, the CNPSR provides this short blurb that's clearly intended to leave the American public quivering in our hiking boots:

"Now the specific impact of the sequestration meat-cleaver on America’s national parks is becoming clearer and even more alarming."

In addition to the details on nine other parks, the CNPSR provides some information concerning Glacier:
Glacier National Park in MT will delay opening the Going-to-the-Sun Road by two weeks, the only road which provides access to the entire park. In previous instances, closures of Going-to-the-Sun Road have resulted in financial distress for surrounding communities and concessions well into millions in lost revenues.
This really makes absolutely no sense on several levels:

1) From a purely financial perspective, how would Glacier save any meaningful dollars by delaying the opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road by two weeks? The same amount of work still has to be done to clear the road - right?

2) Why would Glacier cut off its nose to spite its face? If you were running a business, wouldn't you do the things that would generate the greatest amounts of revenue? Purposely delaying the opening of the main road through the park only decreases the amount of revenues the park collects during its short season - by two weeks - thus exacerbating the situation the NPS and Federal Government find themselves in. Not only would park revenues be reduced, but all the taxes generated by travelers would also be potentially reduced.

3) What kind of an evil person, whether it be in the Obama Administration, the National Park Service, or at Glacier National Park, would make the decision to purposely inflict pain on the surrounding communities and concessions - knowing full well that there are many, many other low-priority projects that could take a back seat?

4) Most importantly, this will never happen - even if sequestration is allowed to pass. These are simply scare tactics being used by special interest groups around the country to scare Americans into believing that they must pay more in taxes. As I fully explained in my blog posting on Tuesday, sequestration will only cut $44 billion out of the overall federal budget in 2013. This amounts to a 1.16% cut in spending - not the 5% that continues to be thrown around by NPS Director Jon Jarvis and the CNPSR. Effectively, sequestration would reduce the National Park Service budget from $2.99 billion to $2.96 billion.

Even if we were to assume that Jarvis is correct, a cut of 5% would only draw the NPS budget down to $2.84 billion - which is still higher than the amount that the NPS spent in 2008, or any year before that. If I'm not mistaken, the Going-to-the-Sun Road was cleared of snow in 2008, and in every year before that.

In my view the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees is providing false and/or misleading information concerning sequestration in order to scare Americans into believing that the only solution to all of our problems is more government spending.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Yellowstone National Park and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to Host Brucellosis Workshop

Yellowstone National Park and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) will host a workshop Feb. 26-28 at Chico Hot Springs Resort in Pray, Montana, to examine the science behind the disease brucellosis and help improve the management of the Yellowstone bison population.

The workshop will feature a panel of scientists with backgrounds in wildlife management and disease ecology who will discuss current conservation and disease management objectives regarding bison and brucellosis. The panel will examine public attitudes toward the disease and specific scientific factors of Brucella abortus, the bacterium behind the non-native disease brucellosis, including immunology, disease ecology, bison behavior and demographics, conservation biology and transmission risk to other wildlife and cattle.

The panel hopes to provide conclusions and recommendations in a brief report at the close of the workshop regarding:

• The feasibility of significantly suppressing the disease in bison
• Potential impacts of suppression activities
• The likelihood that disease suppression will result in more tolerance for bison and help advance bison conservation
• Critical knowledge gaps and research priorities that could improve brucellosis management practices

The workshop is open for public observation and will begin at 8:00 a.m. each day. A public comment period will occur at the end of each day.

Bison and elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have long been infected with brucellosis. The management of this disease has been a contentious public issue for decades. In 2000, the federal government and the State of Montana agreed to a bison management plan that established guidelines for cooperatively managing the risk of brucellosis transmission from bison to cattle. The resulting Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) emphasized conserving the bison population while protecting the livestock economy in Montana. To date, no documented transmission of brucellosis from Yellowstone bison to cattle has occurred, due in part to successful efforts by federal and state agencies to maintain separation between cattle and bison. However, previous management efforts have not resulted in a measurable decrease in brucellosis exposure or infection.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

National Parks, Sequestration and Scare Tactics

The latest dire warnings from politicians, news media outlets, pundits and special interest groups are currently focused on an inside-the-beltway term known as sequestration.

Sequestration refers to the across-the-board budget cuts that will take effect on March 1st - unless an agreement on deficit reduction can be reached beforehand. This "gimmick" was agreed upon by both the president and congress several months ago in order to force both sides to come to some agreement on spending reductions.

This blog posting will focus on the impact sequestration will have on national parks. Most importantly, it will focus on a leaked memo from National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, which makes very little sense from my perch.

First off, let me show three graphs to help explain where we are, and where we've come from in terms of spending. The first graph shows total federal spending since 1999. The analysis begins with this year because 1999 was the first year I could find NPS budget figures. For all three graphs 2013 figures are current estimates. The following federal spending data comes from the Whitehouse website, and the figures quoted are in trillions:

As you can see, spending at the federal level has risen sharply over the last several years. However, increases in spending on national parks have been relatively modest. In fact, the National Park Service budget has seen small declines every year since 2010. The following graph shows the total NPS budget authority, which was compiled using data from the NPS Budget History, and the NPS Green Book. The numbers quoted here are in billions:

To look at this data a little differently, here's a chart showing total NPS budget authority as a percentage of total federal spending. As you can see, the NPS share of the overall pie has been getting smaller over the last decade (which simply means the rest of the federal government is growing much faster than the NPS budget):

Late last month the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees published a leaked memo from National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, which stated that the NPS should assume a 5% decrease in the 2013 budget as a result of the impending sequestration. I find this figure to be a little curious. The sequestration calls for a cut of $85 billion to the 2013 federal budget, which amounts to only a 2.24% decrease in the overall federal budget.

Moreover, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, only $44 billion would actually be cut out of the 2013 budget. This is due to the sequestration taking effect on March 1st, which is already 5 months into the federal fiscal year which began on October 1st. This means only 1.16% of the 2013 budget is scheduled to be cut if sequestration goes into effect.

So why is Jarvis stating that 5% needs to be cut from the NPS budget? Or, why would the president decide to cut NPS funding at a higher rate than the rest of the budget? 

A budget cut of 1.16% would reduce the National Park Service budget from $2.99 billion, down to $2.96 billion. A cut of 2.24% would reduce the NPS budget down to $2.90 billion. Even if we were to assume that the NPS Director is correct (which I don't), a cut of 5% would draw the NPS budget down to $2.84 billion - which is still higher than the amount that the NPS spent in 2008, or any year before that.

So when I see headlines from the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees that reads "Sequestration Budget Cuts Would Turn National Parks Into Ghost Towns", or from the National Parks Conservation Association; "Proof Positive: Our National Parks Are in Peril", I can't help but be a little skeptical.

Then, when I read things like "all national parks should be prepared for reduced hours and fewer services", or "NPS said cuts could include closing of campgrounds and hiking trails. Interpretive programs could also be curtailed" or "If these cuts go into effect, it appears they will harm every one of the 398 parks and monuments in the system as well as park rangers, tourism-dependent businesses and communities, and the millions of Americans who rely on national parks for affordable vacations", I can't help but conclude that these organizations and news media outlets are simply using scare tactics to get cash-strapped Americans to pony up more tax dollars.

I'm calling BS on all this. Certainly there are many smart people in NPS management that can figure how to operate off the same amount of money they were receiving just a couple of years ago. And, for that matter, the same goes for all the other agencies and programs in Washington DC, whose special interest groups are likely using the same scare tactics.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Monday, February 18, 2013

Transportation Secretary Announces New Buses for Glacier

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited Glacier National Park today to announce $12.5 million in grants for 29 projects in 20 states to improve access to America’s national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. Among those projects was a $250,000 grant to purchase two fuel-efficient buses. The new buses will be used as part of Glacier’s free shuttle service, which helps to reduce traffic congestion along the along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The funds for the grants are provided through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks program, which awarded $40.8 million for similar projects in January 2012. Over the last three years $80 million has been distributed to 134 Transit in the Parks projects across the country. This grant program was not reauthorized under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) which was passed by Congress last year. Going forward, public transportation projects serving national parks and other federal lands remain eligible for funding under the Federal Lands Transportation Program administered by the Federal Highway Administration.

A map and a complete list of projects can be found here.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Average year (so far) for Snow in Glacier National Park

According to the latest data published by the Flattop Mountain SNOTEL (SNOw TELemetry) station, the amount of snow in Glacier National Park is right at the 40-year average for mid-February. As of February 15th, the SNOTEL is measuring a total of 34.8 inches of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE), which is the weight of snow water equivalent to inches of water.

The Flattop Mountain SNOTEL station is located at an elevation of approximately 6300 feet on Flattop Mountain, which is a high plateau between the Lewis and Livingston Ranges in Glacier National Park. According to the website, "Flattop Mountain is a useful indicator of snowfall throughout Glacier National Park because it is subject to the factors that influence conditions elsewhere in the park".

Data from the Flattop Mountain SNOTEL is compiled by water year, which runs from October 1st through September 30th.

The following is a graph that compares SWE for 2013 versus the average and other significant water years (you can click here for a larger version):

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Saturday, February 16, 2013

New National Water Trails System Website Rolled Out

Outdoor recreationalists can now experience the new National Water Trails System through a brand new interactive website that connects users to rivers and waterways through stories and tools.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the new National Water Trails System in February 2012, with the objective of creating a national network of exemplary water trails that are cooperatively supported and sustained. Nine National Water Trails have been designated across the United States.

The Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program and the Denver Service Center are continuing work on "Call to Action" item 12, "Follow the Flow," by partnering to develop the new website, which will improve communication with current and potential water trail managers and with recreational trail users.

Water trail managers can apply for designation through an easy online application, and visitors can learn more about designated trails through a photo gallery, dynamic stories, and videos. An interactive map and new search functions make it easy for users to find national water trails throughout the country.

You can visit the new website at

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Friday, February 15, 2013

One Day in Yosemite

On Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 30 filmmakers converged in Yosemite to document one day in the life of the national park. Viewers of the film see the park through the eyes of rangers, park employees, sight-seers, hikers, painters, climbers and even hang-gliders. The park published this wonderful film late last month, and called it One Day in Yosemite:

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Wolf Laws in Montana Take Effect Immediately

A wolf management bill that won swift and overwhelming bipartisan support in the Montana Legislature was signed into law today by the state's new governor.

Gov. Steve Bullock said the law, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Flynn, will allow hunters to purchase up to three wolf licenses and lowers the price of a nonresident wolf license from $350 to $50. The measure will also fortify state wildlife officials' science-based efforts to manage Montana's recovered and growing wolf population, the Governor said.

"This legislation leaves management of the gray wolf where it belongs, in the hands of scientists, not politicians," Gov. Bullock said.

The legislation was amended by lawmakers to allow hunting and trapping of wolves near national parks and allows wildlife officials to close such areas after established wolf harvest quotas are met.

In signing the legislation, Gov. Bullock asked Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks (FWP) to ramp up education programs aimed at averting the harvest of collared wolves near national parks.

Gov. Bullock also directed his staff to determine the best way to reengage the wolf advisory council. The council was originally formed to lead the state's productive wolf conservation and management plan discussions more than 12 years ago.

The new law also allows for wolf hunters to use their license after 24-hours of purchase, instead of a five-day wait; authorizes the use of electronic calls; and removes the requirement for wolf hunters to wear hunter-orange clothing after the general deer and elk hunting seasons have ended.

The recovery of the wolf in the northern Rockies — an area generally comprised of wolf populations in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming — remains one of the fastest endangered species comebacks on record. The recovery goal for wolves in the three states was set at a minimum of 30 breeding pairs — successfully reproducing wolf packs — and a minimum of 300 individual wolves for at least three consecutive years. In the mid 1990s, to hasten the overall pace of wolf recovery, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released wolves into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. By 2002 the recovery goal was reached and the wolf population has increased every year since.

Today, at least 1,774 wolves in 287 packs and about 109 breeding pairs, live in the region. The minimum Montana wolf population estimates at the end of 2011 include 653 wolves, in 130 verified packs, and 39 breeding pairs. New official population estimates are expected in March.

Montana's wolf hunting and trapping seasons are open through Feb. 28. So far, hunters have taken 115 wolves and trappers have reported taking 84 wolves. For more information, visit FWP online at, and then click "Montana Wolf Hunt".

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Comments sought on Flathead River Hybrid Trout Suppression Project

The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), Region One, is seeking public comment for the Flathead River Hybrid Trout Suppression Project. FWP proposes to continue removing hybrid and rainbow trout from the mouths and channels of Abbot, Sekokini, Rabe, Ivy, and Third Creeks in the main stem and the North Fork of the Flathead River. Trapping and electrofishing would be used to catch fish during their spawning season (April-May) and move them to community fishing ponds. FWP would also electrofish between July and September to remove hybrid and rainbow trout offspring. The goal of the proposed suppression effort is to minimize the loss of westslope cutthroat trout populations in the Flathead River system.

The draft is out for a 30-day public review through March 8, 2013. Please contact FWP Fisheries Biologist Amber Steed, (406) 751-4541 or e-mail to with questions or comments.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Swan Lake Ranger District Hosting Information Meeting on Condon Mountain Fire

The Swan Lake Ranger District is hosting an informational meeting to discuss potential actions in the 2012 Condon Mountain Fire burn area. The meeting is at the Swan Ecosystem Center conference room in Condon on Wednesday, February 20th at 2:00 pm.

The Condon Mountain Fire occurred during the summer and fall of 2012, burning approximately 5,200 acres. At this meeting, Forest Service staff will discuss the current condition of the burned area and potential management options.

In addition, status updates on other ongoing projects will be given. For more information contact District Ranger Rich Kehr at 406-837-7501 or Planning Team Leader Michele Draggoo 406-387-3827.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fall for Glacier

Mark your calendars for September 19-22, 2013.

The Glacier National Park Conservancy will be holding its annual Fall for Glacier event on September 19-22, 2013. This year, the event will be held at the historic Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, MT at the south end of Glacier National Park.

The Conservancy is lining up their traditional wide variety of amazing activities such as an all-star cast of guest speakers, guided hikes, Red Bus tours and more, as well as great food and lodging in a wonderfully unique setting. Hikes will be led by experts in fields such as geology and wildlife biology. At least one hike will be led ultra-hiker Jake Bramante, who in 2011 became the first person to hike every trail within Glacier National Park in one year.

For more information, please click here.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Glacier National Park in HD

It's the dead of winter. Tell me, where would rather be? Or more importantly, what would you rather be doing....

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Radio Antenna Tower in St. Mary to be Upgraded

The environmental analysis and review process for a proposed microwave radio antenna tower in the St. Mary area of Glacier National Park has been completed and a decision to upgrade the existing infrastructure has been made. National Park Service Intermountain Regional Director John Wessels signed the decision on January 22, 2013. The environmental impacts associated with the project and consideration of public comments were part of the analysis process.

The replacement tower will not be a cell tower, nor will it provide cell service; there are no cell towers in Glacier National Park. The tower will upgrade existing infrastructure and provide digital subscriber line (DSL) broadband Internet service to the greater St. Mary area as part of a larger statewide Montana Public Service Commission requirement mandating CenturyLink to upgrade communications capabilities at its rural exchanges. The tower will also support National Park Service radio communications equipment.

Currently, the greater St. Mary area is limited to cellular modem and satellite technologies for Internet services, and does not include the faster and larger capacity DSL Internet service for residential, visitor, and government use. CenturyLink's Internet service in the greater St. Mary area is therefore not meeting the demands of local users.

CenturyLink's tower must be located within the park because the new system will need to be hardwired to the existing CenturyLink equipment building, which has been in the St. Mary developed area since 1955. Due to concerns raised by park management about additional communications infrastructure within the park, and to avoid placing an additional tower in the Divide Creek floodplain, the new tower will replace the existing National Park Service radio tower. The existing 70-foot tall tower will be removed and National Park Service radio equipment will be co-located with CenturyLink's equipment on the replacement tower.

A right-of-way permit will be issued to CenturyLink to build and operate the tower. It will be an approximately 80-foot tall, three-legged, steel lattice structure with a 6-foot diameter microwave dish. The tower will be supported by an approximately16-foot by 16-foot concrete footing. Construction will take approximately three weeks.

The decision document is available on the agency's planning website.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Increased Fee and Some Reservations Proposed at Many Glacier Campground

Public comments are encouraged on a proposal to increase the nightly fee and allow some reservations at the Many Glacier Campground in Glacier National Park. It will provide an opportunity for visitors to plan their trip to Many Glacier with knowledge of a secured campsite.

The proposal is to increase the nightly camping fee from $20 to $23 per campsite, and allow for site-specific reservations at approximately half of the campsites through the National Recreation Reservation System. The increase in fees would off-set the service charge of the reservation service provider and would be applied to the entire campground. It is proposed that the new fees and opportunity to reserve a campsite would begin next summer, June 2014.

Currently, the Many Glacier Campground is managed as a completely first-come first-served campground. The campground is popular, filling every day in the summer by mid-to-late morning. The park would allow site-specific reservations at approximately half of the campsites, while the other half of the campground would remain first-come, first-served. There are 109 sites at the Many Glacier Campground. Individuals who hold a senior or access pass through the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program would continue to receive a 50-percent discount on camping fees charged at the campground.

Two campgrounds at Glacier National Park, St. Mary and Fish Creek Campgrounds, have reservations available with a nightly fee of $23.

Public comments on this proposal should be submitted by March 6, 2013. An on-line form is available here. Comments may be also be submitted through the mail to Glacier National Park, Attention: Many Glacier Campground Fee Rate Increase, PO Box 128, West Glacier, MT 59936.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Avalanche Awareness Event with Avalanche Experts and Backcountry Enthusiasts

The Flathead Avalanche Center, along with a number of partners, is hosting an evening avalanche safety awareness event at the Whitefish Moose Lodge on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The program will focus on decision making when traveling into avalanche country.

Program presenters include:

* Mark Dundas with Big Mountain Ski Patrol Inc.: “Backcountry around Whitefish Mountain Resort”

* Steve Burgland with Flathead Nordic Backcountry Patrol and Erich Peitzsch, Snow Scientist with USGS: “Recent Incidents”

* Seth Carbonari with USFS and the Flathead Avalanche Center (FAC): “Flathead Avalanche Center – A Resource for Decision Making”

The event is the evening of February 19, 2013. The program will run from 6:30 to 8:00 with an opportunity to socialize from 8:00 to 9:00. The event is at the Whitefish Moose Lodge, 230 West 10th Street in Whitefish.

For additional information, visit the FAC website at or call the Flathead National Forest at 406-758-5204.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Outdoor Weather Safety Program at Montana Wild

Be prepared for any winter challenge by learning outdoor safety tips from a meteorologist on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Montana Wild, 2668 Broadwater Ave., next to Spring Meadow Lake State Park off Highway 12 West in Helena.

Meteorologist Megan VanDenHeuvel, from the National Weather Service in Great Falls, will explain how to safely approach the challenges presented by exposure to extreme winter weather.

"Through education, preparation and weather awareness, you can stay safe during any weather hazard," VanDenHeuvel said.

The free one-hour program, set to begin at 6:30 p.m., is geared for families with children 7-years of age and older. For more information call Montana Wild at 406-444-9944.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Active Times names the Going-to-the-Sun Road as one of the World's Top 10 Bike Rides

Cycling expert Ron Van Dijk, Director of European Operations for Montana-based Austin-Lehman Adventures, and a bike guide for trips in Germany, Austria, Italy and the Netherlands, has published a list of the World's Top 10 Bike Rides. The first seven rides on his list, which appears in The Active Times, are all out of Europe. The last three spots, however, are all based in the United States.

Coming in at number 8 is the 110-mile Mickelson Trail in South Dakota, while the San Juan Islands in Washington was ranked as 9th. Rounding out the top 10 is the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Here's what Ron had to say about this epic ride:
The Going-to-the-Sun Road (50 miles), Glacier National Park, Montana, USA: Biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is perhaps the most exhilarating and challenging way to see one of the United States’ most precious gems. Winding around curves and pumping your legs as you crawl up the Continental Divide at Logan Pass will give you a new found appreciation of the only road that runs through the heart of Glacier. When you reach “the turning point”, stare for miles around at the jaw-dropping views in all directions, take pride in knowing you conquered the pass, and smile when you know an epic downhill is waiting for you on the other side!
To see the entire list of his top 10 rides, please click here. For more information on cycling the Going-to-the-Sun Road and other roads in Glacier, please click here.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sperry Chalet is Seeking an Artist

Sperry Chalet is again looking for an artist to stay at the chalet for two weeks this year. If you're a professional artist, or know an artist who may be interested, you may want to check-out the Art at Sperry Chalet residency program. All you have to do is create original pieces of artwork and interact with backcountry visitors. For 2013 the residency dates will be August 11th through August 24th. Applications are due by May 17th.

I'm not really sure what's going to inspire you while you're up there, though...

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ranger-led Snowshoe Hike to Taggart Lake in Grand Tetons

Grand Teton National Park ranger naturalists invite visitors and area residents to discover the wonders of winter and boost their heart rate during an exhilarating snowshoe hike to Taggart Lake. Join a park ranger from noon to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 6th, for a moderately strenuous snowshoe trek to Taggart Lake at the foot of the Teton peaks.

Those participating should wear warm layered clothing and sturdy insulated boots, and bring along an energy snack and water. To join this ranger-led activity, meet at noon in the Taggart Lake parking area on the Teton Park Road, just three miles north of Moose Entrance Station.

With its blanket of pristine snow, the Teton landscape becomes a wonderland to experience and explore. This afternoon excursion offers participants an opportunity to learn about the magic and unique elements of the winter season while getting some exercise in an inspiring setting. The 3.5 hour-long snowshoe hike gains 400 feet of elevation and covers a round-trip distance of 3 miles. Previous snowshoeing experience is not required and a limited number of snowshoes may be available for anyone without their own at a cost of $5 for adults and $2 for children, 8 years and up.

Space is limited, therefore reservations are required. Call the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 307.739.3399 to sign up.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List Wolverines as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced yesterday that it is seeking information from the scientific community and the public on a proposal to protect the North American wolverine as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service is also seeking comment on two proposed special rules designed to facilitate management and recovery of the species should it receive protection.

An estimated 250 to 300 wolverines now occur in the lower 48 states, where the species has rebounded after broad-scale predator trapping and poisoning programs led to its near extinction in the early 1900s. According to the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, most are believed to inhabit Montana. According to the latest assessment from the Glacier National Park Wolverine Research Project, 28 wolverines were documented to be living within the park.

Extensive climate modeling indicates that the wolverine’s snowpack habitat will be greatly reduced and fragmented in the coming years due to climate warming, thereby threatening the species with extinction. Wolverines are dependent on areas in high mountains, near the tree-line, where conditions are cold year-round and snow cover persists well into the month of May.

The Service does not consider most activities occurring within the high elevation habitat of the wolverine, including snowmobiling and backcountry skiing, and land management activities like timber harvesting and infrastructure development, to constitute significant threats to the wolverine. As a result, the Service is proposing a special rule under Section 4(d) of the ESA that, should the species be listed, would allow these types of activities to continue.

Under the proposed 4(d) rule, take of wolverines associated with hunting and trapping would be prohibited if the species is listed. The Service is seeking input on the appropriateness of prohibiting incidental take of wolverine in the course of legal trapping activities directed at other species.

In support of ongoing federal and state agencies to protect the wolverine from extinction, the Service is simultaneously proposing a special rule under Section 10(j) of the ESA to facilitate potential reintroduction of the species to its historical range in Colorado. The reintroduction effort, which is still under consideration, would be led by the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Currently, wolverines occur within the North Cascades Range in Washington and the Northern Rockies of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and a small portion of Oregon (Wallowa Range). Populations once existed in the Sierra Nevada of California and the southern Rocky Mountains in the states of Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Currently, one individual male wolverine is known to inhabit the Sierra Nevada and one male wolverine resides in the southern Rocky Mountains. Both are recent migrants to these areas.

Most wolverine habitat in the contiguous U.S. – more than 90 percent – is located on federally-owned land, with the remainder being state, private or tribally owned.

If the proposed listing rule is finalized, the Service will add the wolverine to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The listing would protect the wolverine as a threatened species in the contiguous (or lower 48) states as a distinct population segment (DPS) under the ESA.

The Service will open a 90-day comment period beginning February 4, 2013, to allow the public and stakeholders an opportunity to provide information or comments regarding the proposed listing and 4(d) rule and the proposed 10(j) rule. A draft Recovery Outline will also be available for comments. During that time, the agency will also seek peer review of the proposed listing and proposed rules from the scientific community. Comments will be accepted until May 6, 2013.

Last year, the President directed that any future designations of critical habitat carefully consider all public comments on relevant science and economic impact, including those that suggest methods for minimizing regulatory burdens. If the listing is finalized, any potential critical habitat designation will include a full analysis of economic impact, including impact on jobs, and will strive, to the extent permitted by law, to avoid unnecessary burdens and costs on states, tribes, localities and the private sector.

At this time, the Service finds that critical habitat is not determinable, as the agency needs additional time to assess the potential impact of a critical habitat designation and to identify specific areas that may be appropriate for critical habitat designation. The Service seeks comments on the reasons they should or should not designate critical habitat for the wolverine, and what specific areas might be considered for designation.

The move to list wolverines as endangered could run into resistance from the state of Montana. Montana is the only state, other than Alaska, to offer a wolverine trapping season, which allows the harvest of five wolverines a year over the mountainous western portion of the state. Since 2008, an average about three wolverines have been harvested annually.

Jeff Hagener, director of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, said in a press release yesterday that "Our primary concern is to maintain the authority and ability to manage Montana's wildlife. No matter what the ultimate decision turns out to be, Montana will make a strong case to maintain authority to manage its wildlife, including the ability to trap other species, like wolves, that may sometimes share habitat with the wolverine."

Trapping for wolverines, however, will remain closed for the foreseeable future. In December, in lieu of a federal decision on the wolverine's federal status, a state district court judge in Helena granted a temporary restraining order that blocked the opening of Montana's 2012-13 wolverine trapping season.

Hagener said that while Montana harbors the healthiest wolverine population in the nation, the federal Endangered Species Act doesn't readily allow for listing populations along state lines based on species health and tailored management practices.

For more information about wolverine conservation, copies of the proposals, and details on public meetings and hearings, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.

Hiking Glacier National Park

Friday, February 1, 2013

New push for Cell Phones, Internet Access in National Parks

Do cell phones and internet Wi-Fi belong in national parks? Apparently the National Park Service thinks so.

The National Park Hospitality Association, a national trade association that represents businesses that provide lodging, food services, equipment rentals, transportation and other visitor services in the National Park System, is strongly advocating the expansion of cellular and internet “connectivity” inside national parks. This upcoming March the association will be holding it's annual meeting in Washington DC. Among the six agenda items is "Cell and WiFi access enhancement efforts". In their December 2012 Newsletter, the NPHA published this news item:

Verizon and a team involving ViaSat brought temporary top-notch internet and cellular telephone service to Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim for NPHA’s Grand Thoughts at the Grand Canyon. The infrastructure was nearly invisible and the resulting capabilities were widely praised – and prompted NPS Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell to propose a pilot effort in five parks as a team. NPHA members submitted a list of 11 parks to NPS along with a project overview which included the following goals:

1) Provide a basic level of non-fee internet access at all major, developed visitor areas in the national park system.
2) Provide basic cell phone service at all major visitor areas in national park units, as well as along most roads and at major sites such as trailheads.
3) Deliver timely, park-focused information within national parks through smart phones, tablets and computers.
4) Give individual parks discretion on where cell phone service is available, and whether the service provides full or emergency-only service.
5) Identify and employ best available and practical technologies that minimize visual impacts of cell and internet access systems.
6) Create special gateway zones at park entry points using downloadable data to replace both low-power radio systems and printed material hand-outs.
7) Design a system that is financially sustainable, generating revenues adequate to install, maintain and upgrade internet access. To do this, concessioners are offered the opportunity to develop and operate these systems, either individually or through a collaborative venture with other concessioners.
8) Offer additional bandwidth where possible to park visitors on a fee basis.
9) Coordinate efforts of the NPS, concessioners and friends organizations to create official park apps which can be readily downloaded to all major mobile channels, and which work to aid park visits, even when not connected to the internet, through GPS and other technologies.

Deputy Director O’Dell delivered the recommendations to the NPS Regional Directors and assigned John Wessels (NPS Intermountain Regional Director) and Sue Waldron (NPS Assistant Director for Communications and lead for the NPS “Go Digital” component of A Call to Action) to work with NPHA. The list is now being reviewed by the regional and park teams and final selections of five (maybe more!) sites will occur early in January. A strategy session in February involving NPS, NPHA and communications firms is likely.
Opponents of the connective service argue that intrusive technology goes against the idea of parks being a refuge from modernity. That it interferes with solitude. A press release from the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility even stated that the plan was "a giant step toward ‘Disney-fying’ park interpretation..."

There is also the concern of distracted drivers on national park roads. There are reports of wildlife being killed as a result of drivers texting and talking on cell phones in some of the larger parks.

Then there's the argument that outdoor adventurers have, and will continue to abuse the increased connectivity to call for unneeded rescue efforts. There's a sense that some people are more willing to engage in reckless behavior, knowing that there's a safety net of emergency responders just a phone call away.

What are your thoughts? Do cell phones belong in the wilderness? Are Wi-Fi hot spots important to have in certain areas, such as near visitor centers? If you've reached a scenic overlook, or the top of a mountain after a tough hike, would you feel that some of the wilderness experience has been degraded if several people around you are talking on cell phones?

Hiking in Glacier National Park

New Hyper-Accurate, Hyper-Local Weather App

Over the last several years technology has been creeping into wilderness at an ever increasing pace. The latest technological innovation actually seems to be a really good idea.

A company by the name of Nooly announced on Monday that they have released the world’s most localized and reliable weather app for iPhones and Androids. They claim the app is capable of predicting the exact minute it will rain or snow and can do so effectively, wherever you are, for every 0.4 square miles (1 square kilometer).

Nooly brought in two of the world’s top scientists in cloud physics and short-range weather prediction, Professor Daniel Rosenfeld of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Professor John R. Mecikalski of the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Professors Rosenfeld and Mecikalski are widely recognized for their development in understanding and prediction of the evolution of clouds and storms, including hurricane and tornado formation. They have worked with a number of federal agencies, including NASA, NOAA, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), and the European Organization for Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.

Using their deep background and expertise, the Nooly scientific team has built a series of meteorological and physical algorithms that track and process, in real-time, data from two NASA / NOAA satellites, over 260 NOAA radars, and other meteorological sources. The result is Nooly, an impressive weather application that predicts, in 5 minutes interval, when rain or snow will start, get worse, and end. Nooly processes information for over 30 million locations throughout the United States and southern Canada, resulting in hyperlocal weather conditions for every road, park and point of interest. For the past year a live beta version of Nooly has been available for download in the US, achieving over 50,000 users, who have helped Nooly test and refine its hyperlocal predictions.

The Nooly app is now available on iPhone® and Android™ for free. For more information, please visit

Hiking in Glacier National Park