Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend at Glacier National Park

Hikers and bikers can enjoy unrestricted access on the Going-to-the-Sun Road this holiday weekend at Glacier National Park. The Apgar Visitor Center is open and the St. Mary Visitor Center is scheduled to open Saturday, May 25. Many park concessioners and privately-owned facilities will begin to offer visitor amenities this weekend.

On Friday, May 24, hikers and bikers can travel as far as Bird Woman Falls Overlook on the west side, and as far as Siyeh Bend on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. There are no restrictions for hikers and bikers Saturday through Monday, May 25-27. For more information about hiker-biker access please click here or contact the park at 406-888-7800 for updated information.

Currently, 29 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open to vehicle travel. Visitors can drive 15.5 miles from the West Entrance to Avalanche, and 13.5 miles from the St. Mary Entrance to Jackson Glacier Overlook.

Snow plowing activities on the Going-to-the-Sun Road continue with the west-side road crew working their way towards The Slopes area located about two miles from Logan Pass. The east-side crew is now past Siyeh Bend, working towards No Stump Point. You can view pictures of current plowing activities on the park's Flickr page.

Campgrounds opening Friday, May 24 include: Many Glacier, Rising Sun, and Two Medicine Campgrounds. Apgar, Bowman, and Sprague Creek Campgrounds are currently open. The St. Mary Campground is currently operating in primitive status, with full services available May 24. Most campgrounds are first-come first-served, with reservations available at Fish Creek and St. May Campgrounds and at the group sites at Apgar Campground from June 1 through September 1. Reservation information and specific information about each campground, including a map of the sites, operating dates, available services, current and historic fill times, and more are available here.

The Camas Road, Bowman Road, Chief Mountain International Peace Parkway, Many Glacier Road, and Two Medicine Road are open to motorized travel. The Inside North Fork Road is currently open eight miles between the Polebridge Ranger Station and the head of Big Prairie. All other areas of the Inside North Fork Road remain closed at this time. The Cut Bank Road is currently closed at the park boundary. For updated park road status please click here.

Park visitors are reminded to be aware of changing weather conditions and plan accordingly. Spring rain showers may increase flooding and/or avalanche danger. Stopping in avalanche paths is not recommended, and caution should be used with any activity near or in water. Bears are currently active within the park and visitors are reminded to travel in groups and make loud noises when recreating to avoid surprise encounters. For your safety, do not approach or attempt to feed any wildlife in the park.

Backcountry permits are required for any backcountry overnight visit. Permits are available from the Apgar Backcountry Permit Office and the St. Mary Visitor Center, and from most of the ranger stations throughout the summer.

Visitors planning to boat within the park are reminded that all motorized watercraft require inspection and a permit before launching within the park. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, permits are available from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at park headquarters in West Glacier, and 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at all other locations, including the St. Mary Visitor Center, Two Medicine Ranger Station, and Many Glacier Ranger Station. Boaters wishing to launch on Bowman Lake should obtain a permit at park headquarters, and proceed to Bowman Lake after the inspection. Hand-propelled watercraft, such as canoes, kayaks, rowboats, rafts, and catarafts require a free self-certification permit. For more information and access to the self-certification permit please click here.

The park's summer entrance fee is $25 per vehicle and is valid for seven days. The per-person entrance fee for a visitor traveling on foot, bicycle or motorcycle is $12 and is valid for seven days. An annual Glacier National Park pass for unlimited access to the park for one year from time of purchase of the pass is available for $35. Other passes with America the Beautiful- The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program are also available. United States citizens 62 years of age and older may purchase a lifetime pass for $10, and citizens with a permanent disability may obtain a free lifetime pass. An annual pass available for $80 allows free entrance to federally operated recreation sites across the county, including many National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management sites. A free annual pass to active duty military members and their dependents is also available. For more information or to purchase a pass, please contact the park at 406-888-7800, visit the park headquarters building in West Glacier, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or a staffed entrance station.


Jeff
Hiking in Glacier.com

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