Monday, June 30, 2014

The Best of Yosemite in One Epic Hike

Did you know that you can do one hike that encompasses nearly all of Yosemite’s iconic sights? This epic 12.6-mile hike includes a full view of Yosemite Falls from the only place in the park to see both the upper and lower falls in their full glory. You’ll also see El Capitan, Half Dome, Illilouette Fall and Nevada Fall. This epic one-way hike begins with a climb up the Four Mile Trail, and then travels back to the valley via the Panorama Trail. The following is a pretty good video which highlights the outstanding sights along the way:

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Beartooth Highway Receives Prestigious National Register Listing

The Beartooth Highway, often considered one of the most spectacular drives in the country, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on May 8, 2014.

Sixty miles of the 68-mile winding and twisting US-212 highway linking Red Lodge, Montana, with the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana, and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park was officially named the Red Lodge – Cooke City Approach Road Historic District.

The scenic highway is nationally significant as an example of road construction which substantially increased recreational development and tourism in Yellowstone and the region. The road is also nationally significant for its distinctive engineering and the methods of high-altitude road construction used in its construction. It is the highest elevation highway in Wyoming (10,947 feet) and Montana (10,350 feet).

In 1932, President Herbert Hoover withdrew the Beartooth Highway corridor from settlement and sale, and reserved it as an approach road to Yellowstone National Park. Construction funds from the newly passed National Park Approaches Act, which became law in 1931, were used to build the road.

The Beartooth Highway National Register Nomination was completed by Yellowstone staff as a cooperative effort through a Memorandum of Agreement among the Federal Highway Administration, the Wyoming and Montana State Historic Preservation Offices, the United States Forest Service and the National Park Service.

The National Register is the nation’s official list of historic places worthy of preservation. The listing will allow the agencies who manage the road to account for its historic characteristics when planning upgrades and maintenance projects.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

NPS Bans Drones in America’s National Parks

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis signed a policy memorandum last week that directs superintendents nationwide to prohibit launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service.

“We embrace many activities in national parks because they enhance visitor experiences with the iconic natural, historic and cultural landscapes in our care,” Jarvis said. “However, we have serious concerns about the negative impact that flying unmanned aircraft is having in parks, so we are prohibiting their use until we can determine the most appropriate policy that will protect park resources and provide all visitors with a rich experience.”

Unmanned aircraft have already been prohibited at several national parks. These parks initiated bans after noise and nuisance complaints from park visitors, an incident in which park wildlife were harassed, and park visitor safety concerns.

Last September, an unmanned aircraft flew above evening visitors seated in the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Amphitheater. Park rangers concerned for visitors’ safety confiscated the unmanned aircraft.

In April, visitors at Grand Canyon National Park gathered for a quiet sunset, which was interrupted by a loud unmanned aircraft flying back and forth and eventually crashing in the canyon. Later in the month, volunteers at Zion National Park witnessed an unmanned aircraft disturb a herd of bighorn sheep, reportedly separating adults from young animals.

The policy memorandum directs park superintendents to take a number of steps to exclude unmanned aircraft from national parks. The steps include drafting a written justification for the action, ensuring compliance with applicable laws, and providing public notice of the action.

The memorandum does not affect the primary jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration over the National Airspace System.

The policy memorandum is a temporary measure. Jarvis said the next step will be to propose a service-wide regulation regarding unmanned aircraft. That process can take considerable time, depending on the complexity of the rule, and includes public notice of the proposed regulation and opportunity for public comment.

The policy memo directs superintendents to use their existing authority within the Code of Federal Regulations to prohibit the use of unmanned aircraft, and to include that prohibition in the park’s compendium, a set of park-specific regulations.

All permits previously issued for unmanned aircraft will be suspended until reviewed and approved by the associate director of the National Park Service’s Visitor and Resource Protection directorate. The associate director must approve any new special use permits authorizing the use of unmanned aircraft. Superintendents who have previously authorized the use of model aircraft for hobbyist or recreational use may allow such use to continue.

The National Park Service may use unmanned aircraft for administrative purposes such as search and rescue, fire operations and scientific study. These uses must also be approved by the associate director for Visitor and Resource Protection.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Monday, June 23, 2014

Grizzly Bear Study Team Research Begins In Yellowstone

Biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) and Yellowstone National Park will be conducting scientific grizzly bear and black bear research operations in Yellowstone National Park from June 24 through October 31, as part of the ongoing monitoring of the activities and population of grizzly bears within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Team members will bait and trap bears at several remote sites within Yellowstone National Park. Once trapped, the bears are anesthetized to allow wildlife biologists to radio-collar and collect scientific samples for study. All trapping and handling are done in accordance with IGBST’s long-established protocols.

None of the trap sites in the park will be located near any established hiking trails or backcountry campsites, and all trap sites will have posted warnings for the closure perimeter. Potential access points will also be posted with warning signs for the closure area. Backcountry users who come upon any of these posted areas need to heed the warnings and stay out of the area.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team was established in 1973 to collaboratively monitor and manage ecosystem bears on an interagency basis. The gathering of critical data on the protected bears is part of a long-term research effort required under the Endangered Species Act to help wildlife managers devise and implement programs to support the ongoing recovery of Yellowstone’s grizzly bear population.

The IGBST is composed of representatives of the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal Fish and Game Department, and the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Friday, June 20, 2014

Updates On Snowstorm Impacts To Glacier National Park

The recent rain and snow has impacted some park operations at Glacier National Park. Safety of park personnel and park visitors is priority.

Through Friday, avalanche danger is considered high along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, specifically at the higher elevations above Haystack Creek on the west side, and Siyeh Bend on the east, due to recent heavy snowfall and warming temperatures.

Several snow slides, with some debris, were observed near Haystack and the Alps areas of the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the west side. These slides initiated at a high elevation and continued to the road and across the road.

Due to the hazards of wide-spread slides, access for park personnel and park visitors is limited through Friday at The Loop along the west side of the road. Hiker-biker access will be to The Loop on Friday. Beginning Saturday, it is anticipated that hiker-biker access will be unlimited from Avalanche, although visitors are encouraged to use caution and travel will not be recommended past The Loop. The hazards of falling rock, snow and debris on the road and possible snow slides may be encountered.

On Friday, the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be open to vehicle access to Rising Sun. It is anticipated that vehicle access will be available to Jackson Glacier Overlook by mid-day Sunday. There is no hiker-biker access on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The road surface will be rough, a gravel surface, from Rising Sun to Jackson Glacier Overlook.

The St. Mary Campground remains closed due to flooding and water damage. Some areas of the campground may be available this weekend. Access to the Kintla Lake area is closed at the head of Big Prairie, seven miles north of the Polebridge entrance in the North Fork District of the park.

There is some flooding and areas of concern at Goat Haunt, near the United States-Canadian Border. The dock facilities have sustained some damage. The tour boat operation has been temporarily suspended, and the area is being closely monitored for any additional flood damage.

Park personnel continue to monitor other areas of the park as well, including the Many Glacier and St. Mary areas. The need for any evacuations has greatly lessened, but will be closely monitored as temperatures rise.

Park personnel located at Sperry Chalet to conduct seasonal opening activities this week have reported more than 20 inches of new snow at the chalet. The chalet is located on the west side of the park, near the Continental Divide.

Plowing work on the Going-to-the-Sun Road is anticipated to resume on Sunday. Crews will assess the situation along the higher areas of the road, and have several areas to plow through again. Most of the equipment was moved to lower elevations on Tuesday as snow began to fall and additional snow was predicted. Some guard rail was destroyed with the recent snow slides along the road, and additional damage is anticipated to be located as crews are able to access the higher locations.

It's unknown when additional vehicle access will be available on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

For additional questions about Glacier National Park, visit the park website or call 406-888-7800

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park Forced to Euthanize Food-Conditioned Bear

Glacier National Park rangers euthanized a black bear from the Many Glacier area on Tuesday, June 17th, after an incident in which the bear exhibited apparent food-conditioned behavior.

The black bear was captured on Sunday, June 15th after entering a park residence near the Many Glacier park entrance. The bear broke several windows, a screen door, and managed to enter the residence after breaking through the back door. According to park rangers, it appears the bear rummaged through garbage and recycling while inside the residence. No people were injured during the incident.

Park rangers also report witnessing several incidents in which the bear was found foraging for food near the Many Glacier Road, and physically contacting visitor vehicles. This bear was determined to be a food-conditioned bear and a potential threat to human safety.

After Glacier National Park personnel verified that the correct animal had been captured through distinct markings, the bear was euthanized. This action is consistent with Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Plan. The male bear was approximately five years old and weighed 160 pounds.

Food-conditioned bears are those that have sought and obtained non-natural foods, destroyed property, or displayed aggressive, non-defensive behavior towards humans and are removed from the wild. Food-conditioned bears are not relocated due to human safety concerns.

Black bears are not good candidates for animal capture facilities such as zoos and animal parks due to the plentiful nature of the species throughout the United States.

The park reminds visitors to keep campgrounds and developed areas clean and free of food and trash. Regulations require that all edibles, food containers, and cookware be stored in a hard-sided vehicle or food locker when not in use, day or night. Place all trash in bear-proof containers. Do not burn waste in fire rings or leave litter around your camp. Fire rings should be free of trash before vacating a campsite.

If you see a bear along the road, please do not stop. Stopping and watching roadside bears will likely start a "bear jam" as other motorists follow your lead. "Bear jams" are hazardous to both people and bears as visibility is reduced and bears may feel threatened by the congestion. Report all bear sightings to the nearest ranger.

Visitors to Glacier National Park are reminded that the park is home to black and grizzly bears. Hikers are highly encouraged to hike in groups, make noise when hiking, and have bear spray accessible and know how to use it. For more information about recreating in bear country, please visit the park website.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Storm dumps heavy snow and flooding rains in Glacier National Park

Travelers to Glacier National Park expecting to kick-off the summer season this weekend will be in for a rude awakening. Although the first day of summer is this Saturday, winter continues in the mountains of the park. A late season storm this week has brought heavy snow in the higher elevations of Glacier. The Flattop Mountain SNOTEL Site (6300 feet) recorded roughly 11 inches of snow over the last two days, while Sperry Chalet (6560 feet) reported over 14 inches of fresh snow.

The storm has also brought flooding to the park. The National Weather Service in Great Falls, MT issued this warning last evening:

As a result of the rain and snow, the St. Mary Campground and the Red Eagle Trailhead are closed on the east side of the park, while access to Kintla Lake, about seven miles north of the Polebridge Ranger Station in the North Fork, is also closed. The manager at Sperry said that the chalet is in good shape, and expects it to be open on July 10th. No word on the Granite Park Chalet at this point, but the website states that the expected opening for that facility is still June 30th.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road was expected to open on June 20th, but that likely will be delayed. The storm will also likely push back the opening dates for many of the high elevation trails throughout the park. Be sure to check the park website for the latest conditions before traveling to the trailhead.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Monday, June 16, 2014

Challenging Spring for Glacier National Park - One to Two Feet of Snow Expected This Week

Snow conditions, cool weather, and debris from snow slides are challenging some spring opening operations for trails, facilities and roads in Glacier National Park. Snow accumulations in the park are above average this year, and spring snowmelt has varied at different locations.

A weather system is predicted to impact the area beginning tonight through the next couple of days, including cooler temperatures and heavy precipitation. At this time, a winter storm warning has been issued in and around Glacier National Park for elevations above 6,500 feet with predictions of snow accumulations of one to two feet. The elevation at Logan Pass is 6,646 feet.

Numerous trails in Glacier National Park are still snow-covered. Park staff report damage to trails and backcountry campsites due to snow slides and large amounts of avalanche debris. The Ptarmigan Falls Bridge and Twin Falls Bridge have been removed due to winter damage and hazardous conditions. Temporary bridges are expected to be installed by early July. The Iceberg Lake Trail is closed to stock use until permanent repairs to the Ptarmigan Falls Bridge are complete. Permanent repair work on both bridges is anticipated to begin this fall.

Extensive avalanche debris has impacted the Trout Lake Trail. Hikers are not encouraged to use this trail, or it is recommended that hikers have route-finding skills to traverse the debris.

Trails may traverse steep and sometimes icy snowfields and hikers are strongly advised to have the appropriate equipment and skills to navigate such areas, or perhaps visit those areas once conditions improve. Please visit the park's website for current trail status. Please report any hazardous or unusual trail or backcounty conditions by calling the park at 406-888-7800.

Frozen and damaged sewer and water lines caused some delays in seasonal opening activities for utilities park-wide. Rising Sun and the Swiftcurrent cabin areas experienced damaged water lines. The Apgar and Lake McDonald areas experienced issues with frozen sewer lines, and some broken water lines. The Cutbank, Many Glacier and Two Medicine Campgrounds experienced delayed openings due to abundant snow accumulation and slow snow melt.

A snow slide in the Alps area of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, about five miles west of Logan Pass, wiped out about 20-30 feet of rock wall along the road. Several new slide paths across the road have been encountered this spring, including the need for extensive snow and debris cleanup.

Snow removal operations on the Going-to-the-Sun Road continue with road crews working near the Big Drift and Lunch Creek areas east of Logan Pass. Above average snow accumulation and cool June temperatures have provided challenges for snow removal operations. The snow depth at the Big Drift is estimated to be about 80 feet, larger than recent years. Once the snow is removed, a thick layer of ice on the road is anticipated.

In addition to snow removal, road crews are working to install over 400 removable guard rails, sweep the road of rock debris, and clear snow from Logan Pass Visitor Center facilities including sidewalks and trails. Park road crew employees have begun working overtime in an effort to accomplish snow removal goals in a safe and timely manner, as well as other park employees assisting in the hand work to remove snow around facilities.

Snow removal and plowing progress, including images, can be found here.

Currently, visitors can drive about 16 miles from the West Entrance to Avalanche on the west side of the park, and one mile from the St. Mary Entrance to the foot of St. Mary Lake on the east side. It is anticipated that there will be vehicle access to the Jackson Glacier Overlook area on the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road by this weekend, but it is dependent on weather conditions. Vehicle access to Logan Pass, and beyond Avalanche on the west side of park, is unknown at this time.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stolen Parks Canada Truck Recovered in Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park rangers apprehended a Canadian man driving a stolen Parks Canada truck after the driver failed to stop at the park’s northern entrance, according to an NPS Morning Report posted yesterday.

On the morning of Sunday, June 1st, the Yellowstone Communication Center received a call from visitor use assistants working at the North Entrance reporting that a pick-up truck with a green stripe and light bar failed to stop at the entrance station. They reported that the driver gave them a peace sign as he drove through the stop sign. Law enforcement rangers were notified and stopped the vehicle 5 miles south, in Mammoth Hot Springs.

The Parks Canada vehicle turned out to be stolen from Banff National Park on May 30th. Rangers investigated the driver, and placed the Canadian citizen into custody without incident.

The driver reported that he had taken the vehicle to drive south, where it was warm. Somewhere between Alberta and Montana, the driver saw a dirt road that went around a fence near the border checkpoint, and drove until he reached the highway on the U.S. side.

Park rangers, special agents and the assistant US attorney worked with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Crown prosecutors, ICE, Parks Canada and the Canadian Consulate to determine how best to proceed with the investigation and prosecution.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Friday, June 13, 2014

Glacier Annual Pass Artwork Contest Winners Announced

Glacier National Park and the Glacier National Park Conservancy announce the winners of the recent annual park pass artwork contest.

Eileen Crusta, a 10th grade homeschool student, submitted the winning entry. Her image of Bowman Lake and wildlife will be on the 2015 Glacier National Park Annual Park Pass. This pass will be available in January 2015, and approximately 14,000 passes will be issued during the year.

The art contest was open to students in grades 6-12. The purpose of the contest is to improve stewardship and understanding of cultural and natural resources in the park. The focus of this year's contest was colorful artwork depicting natural resources protected and preserved in the park.

Ryan Kelly, seventh grade student at St. Matthews School, and Ryann Thomas, sixth grade student at C.R. Anderson Middle School, were recognized for second and third place respectively. All three winners will receive a gift certificate from the Glacier Conservancy that can be redeemed at any Glacier National Park Conservancy sales outlet or their online store.

Mark Preiss, Glacier National Park Conservancy President and CEO, said, "This art contest is a great way for students to connect with Glacier and showcase their artistic talents." He added, "We received dozens of submissions, each reflecting different interpretations of why Glacier matters and what it offers to each of us every day."

The Glacier National Park Conservancy is an official partner of Glacier National Park. The Conservancy's goal is to generate financial support for the park through private fundraising and philanthropic activities, and operation of the bookstores within Glacier National Park.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Grand Tetons Raises Fire Danger to Moderate

A scarcity of early summer moisture combined with the recent Antelope Fire near the base of Shadow Mountain, the first significant wildfire of the 2014 season, has prompted Teton Interagency fire managers to increase the fire danger rating to moderate for the greater Jackson Hole area. A moderate rating means that fires start easily and spread at a moderate speed and intensity from most causes (accidental or natural). On windy days, fires will burn briskly and spread rapidly in open-cured grassland and dead understory fuels in aspen groves and pine forests.

Teton Interagency firefighters suppressed the Antelope Fire on Saturday, June 7th, but only after it had easily grown to nine acres in a short period of burning. Fire crews continue to work on hot spots and will monitor the Antelope Fire. It has been controlled, but not declared out. The ignition source was determined to be human-caused and is under investigation.

Interagency firefighters have already tended to nearly 25 abandoned campfires this year.

As the Fourth of July approaches, visitors and local residents alike are reminded that fireworks are not permitted in Grand Teton National Park, on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, in Teton or Sublette counties, and on Wyoming state lands. It is crucial that everyone comply with this regulation, especially given the drying conditions and warmer temperatures throughout the greater Jackson Hole area.

Along with the fireworks prohibition on public and county lands, campers are reminded that unattended or abandoned campfires can easily escalate into wildfires. Campers and day users should never leave a fire unattended, and always have a shovel on hand and a water bucket ready for use. All campfires must be completely extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving a site.

With the already active fire season across the country, local residents and visitors should exercise extra caution and practice heightened fire safety at all times. Area residents and visitors are requested to report a fire or smoke by calling 911 or Teton Interagency Dispatch at 307.739.3630.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Missing Hiker Found Safe in Glacier National Park

Missing hiker Luis Lim spent one unexpected night in the backcountry after failing to return from a day hike on the Autumn Creek Trail near Marias Pass in the southern section of Glacier National Park. Park rangers successfully located the man near the trail at approximately 10:30 a.m. (MST) yesterday morning, and found him safe with no serious injuries.

On Tuesday, June 10th at approximately 11 a.m., Luis Lim, a 48-year old male from Chicago, and Stephen Vickery, a 66-year old male from Toronto, departed on the Autumn Creek Trail from East Glacier towards Marias Pass. According to park rangers, their intended destination was the Lubec Trailhead. The two men had just met that morning in East Glacier and decided to hike together. This was Lim's first time hiking, while Vickery describes himself as an experienced hiker.

Glacier National Park Dispatch received a phone call from Lim at approximately 5:40 p.m. stating himself and Vickery were lost on the trail and concerned they would not make it out before dark. Glacier County Sheriff's Office pinged Lim's cell phone several times in order to pinpoint their location. Glacier County deputies responded to the area and located Vickery on U.S. Highway 2 at approximately 2 a.m.

Vickery told park rangers that Lim was still in the backcountry and was physically unable to continue with him due to exhaustion. The hikers carried water and food for the day, but were not prepared to stay overnight. On Wednesday, June 11th, at approximately 6 a.m., five crews of Glacier National Park employees began a search for Lim on foot and horseback. The hiker was located approximately 3.75 miles from the Marias Pass Trailhead, off the Autumn Creek Trail around 10:30 a.m.

Lim was not injured, but he was cold, tired, wet, and hungry when found. He arrived safely at the Marias Pass Trailhead with rescuers at approximately 2 p.m. yesterday. Flathead County Search and Rescue and Two Bear Air were en route to the search when the hiker was located.

Visitors are strongly encouraged to plan for and enjoy all that Glacier National Park has to offer. This includes learning about the area you plan to visit, especially when traveling in the backcountry, and having the items you may need if the situation changes. Hikers should carry up-to-date maps, compass, first aid kit, flashlight, rain gear, matches, fire starter, whistle, extra food, and extra clothing (click here for a more comprehensive list of gear items to bring with you on any hike). Without planning and awareness of an individual's surroundings, accidents can happen.

If a hiker becomes lost, stay on a designated trail and do not move from your location. Try to contact emergency services if possible, and follow all directions from park rangers for your own safety. Park rangers recommend all visitors utilize the Glacier National Park Day Trip Plan, available at any backcountry permit office in the park or online. This valuable tool provides details of your intended route to search and rescue personnel, narrowing search locations and potentially saving lives.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park Invites Public to “Brown-Bag” Seminar

The Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at Glacier National Park is hosting a brown-bag luncheon presentation regarding musical composition from the inspiration of wilderness on Wednesday, June 18 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the park's community building in West Glacier. Glacier National Park Artist-in-Resident and music composer Stephen Lias will share a multimedia presentation exploring the many ways adventure, scenery, history, wildlife, and geology can be translated into music. The presentation is free and open to the public.

The Glacier National Park Artist-in-Residence program offers professional artists four weeks of focused time to creatively explore the natural and cultural resources of the park's landscape while pursuing their artistic goals. The program also allows artists opportunity to share their work with an international audience through educational programs and exhibits. Lias is serving as Glacier National Park's Artist-in-Residence for the month of June.

Lias has served as an Artist-in-Residence for several national parks including Rocky Mountain, Glacier Bay, Denali, and Gates of the Arctic. His compositions have been performed around the world by soloists and ensembles including the Louisiana Sinfonietta, XPlorium Ensemble, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin. National Parks Magazine featured his composition, "Timberline Sonata" in their Fall 2011 issue. Lias also leads music composition field seminars for Alaska Geographic, the official non-profit partner of many national parks, wildlife refuges, and national forests in Alaska. He currently resides in Texas where he is a Professor of Composition at Stephen F. Austin State University.

The Glacier National Park Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center hosts brown-bag lectures throughout the year. Please click here for more information.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Glacier Seeks Comments on Proposed Fish Passage Barrier

Public comments are encouraged on a recently completed environmental assessment for a proposed fish passage barrier downstream of Akokala Lake in the North Fork District of Glacier National Park. Comments are due by July 7, 2014.

Akokala Lake is one of the last bull trout supporting lakes on the west side of the park and is at risk of invasion by non-native lake trout, which are known to have severe detrimental effects on native fish populations. The drainage is also susceptible to invasion by rainbow trout and possibly brook trout. Monitoring and genetic testing show hybridization between westslope cutthroat and rainbow trout has already begun to occur in Akokala Creek. Brook trout can out-compete westslope cutthroat trout and hybridize with bull trout.

The environmental assessment analyzes two alternatives: 1) Alternative A-No Action, and 2) Alternative B-Construct a fish passage barrier on Akokala Creek. The preferred alternative is to construct a fish passage barrier (Alternative B). A fish passage barrier would prevent additional non-native fish from accessing Akokala Lake and the upper Akokala drainage, and reduce or eliminate further expansion of westslope cutthroat-rainbow trout hybridization. By protecting the drainage against non-native invasive fish, this project would also help safeguard important habitat refugia for native fish confronting the stressors of climate change.

The environmental assessment, as well as additional information is available here. Public comments can be made directly through this website, or written comments may be mailed to Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: Akokala Fish Barrier EA, PO Box 128, West Glacier, Montana 59936.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Yellowstone Visitor Killed By Falling Tree

An international visitor to Yellowstone National Park died Monday afternoon after being struck by a falling tree.

The 36-year old man was from Taiwan, the Republic of China. He was part of a group that was hiking the Fairy Falls trail, which is north of the Old Faithful area and west of the Grand Loop Road.

The man left the trail and ascended a nearby tree-covered slope in an apparent attempt to get a better view of Grand Prismatic Spring, when a lodgepole pine tree fell and struck him in the head.

Other visitors who witnessed the incident made their way back to the trailhead, where they encountered two park maintenance employees working in the area, who relayed the information to Yellowstone law enforcement rangers.

The victim was moved by rangers to the trailhead to await helicopter transport to a medical facility, but after attempts to revive him failed, he was declared dead at the scene.

Yellowstone rangers who responded reported windy weather conditions in the area at the time, and that the fallen tree had been a standing, dead lodgepole, fire-killed during the park’s 1988 fires.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of family members.

The incident remains under investigation by the National Park Service.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Monday, June 9, 2014

Video Hike to Mt. Elbert - the Highest Mountain in Colorado

At 14,433 feet, Mt. Elbert ranks as the highest mountain in Colorado. It’s also the highest point between Mt. Whitney in California, Fairweather Mountain in Canada, La Malinche Mountain in Mexico, and Mont Blanc in France. But don’t be intimidated - it’s a relatively easy hike - if you have good fitness and are properly acclimated. Below is a short video highlighting some of the outstanding scenery you'll see on this hike. For more detailed information on this hike, please click here.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Saturday, June 7, 2014

21 Trails Designated as National Recreation Trails

To promote outdoor recreation and reconnect Americans to nature, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis announced yesterday the recognition of 19 hiking and biking trails and two water trails as national recreation trails, adding 452 miles in 11 states to the National Trails System.

“I can think of no better way to celebrate National Trails Day than to support the efforts of local communities by formally recognizing these exceptional trails as national recreation trails,” Jewell said. “They provide easily accessible places to get exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas, and promote our goal of encouraging all Americans, especially youth, to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors.”

National recreation trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation. Each of the new national recreation trails will receive a certificate of designation, a letter of congratulations from Secretary Jewell, and a set of trail markers.

The national recreation trails program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the Forest Service in conjunction with a number of other federal and not-for-profit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the national recreation trails website. Both the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture have the authority to approve designations in response to an application from the trail's managing agency or organization.

For the full list of trails being designated this year as national recreation trails, please click here.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Mountain Goat Study Continues in Glacier

Glacier National Park, in partnership with the University of Montana and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, will continue mountain goat research activities this summer in the Logan Pass area. The three-year research study began late summer of 2013 to identify how mountain goats are affected by roads, people, and trails near Logan Pass. The study is a critical component of the current Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor Management planning effort which identified human-wildlife interactions within the corridor as an issue of concern.

Six mountain goats received radio collars last summer, including five females and one male. GPS and VHF radio collars are utilized to collect location data. VHF collars only collect a data point when they are located by an observer on the ground or in an aircraft, whereas GPS collars collect a data point every few hours and then transmit that information via satellite to a researcher’s computer. Radio collar data revealed mountain goats used Mt. Cannon and the Hidden Creek drainage area as winter habitat.

Preliminary observational data also reveals differences between habituated and wild goats. Habituated goats display different herding behavior and use habitat differently than wild goats. Habituated goats often use meadow, tree, and road habitat whereas wild goats generally stay near cliffs and ledges, with some use of meadow habitat. This data is preliminary so results may change as more information is gathered.

Mountain goat captures will continue this summer as soon as access to the Logan Pass area is safe. It is anticipated that 20–25 goats in total will be collared for this study. Of the more than 1,500 goats estimated in the park, this represents less than 2% of the park-wide population. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks secured a grant and acquired three additional GPS radio collars to be used for this study.

In addition to radio collar placement, researchers will continue observational data collection. Mountain goats may be temporarily marked with paint in specific situations. A University of Montana graduate student will lead most of the observational research study activities, with oversight by park managers.

The key objectives of the project are to determine:

• Whether the same or different goats use Logan Pass and the Highline Trail area yearly.

• Timing of movements into and beyond the Logan Pass/Highline Trail area.

• Relationships between goats and humans, particularly patterns of habituation and goat-directed aggression, if at all, to humans.

Additional components of the study will assess the extent to which goat reliance on humans result in ‘unnatural’ behavior including: association with human activities, facilities and infrastructure; use of roads, popular adjacent trails, and people as safe havens from predators; and effectiveness of possible deterrents to habituated goats.

Research on bighorn sheep will be conducted simultaneously with observational, temporary marking, and messaging techniques. No collars will be placed on bighorn sheep, as individual sheep are easier to identify due to horn variations.

Visitors are reminded to keep a safe distance from wildlife. Park regulations require visitors to stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards from any other animal.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

2014 Citizen Science Opportunities Announced for Glacier

The Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at Glacier National Park will continue its Citizen Science Program this summer, offering free research and learning opportunities for the public.

The program trains individuals to identify, observe, and record information on mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pikas, loons, and invasive plants in Glacier National Park. These species have been targeted because of their sensitivity to changes in habitat, human disturbances and, in the case of invasive plants, their threat to native biodiversity. Participants are asked to attend a one-day training session before collecting data for a project. Additional training sessions may be scheduled based on interest. Please contact the Learning Center at 406-888-7986 to sign-up for training or for more information.

High Country Citizen Science
Observe mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and pika behavior at selected sites to assist with population and distribution estimates. These three species are habitat and temperature sensitive and may be affected by climate change.

Training Dates: June 13 or June 27

Common Loon Citizen Science
Gather information on the distribution and reproduction of Common Loons to understand more about population trends and nesting success.

Training Date: June 19

Invasive Plant Citizen Science
Learn to identify five targeted invasive plants and use GPS units to mark their locations while hiking along trails in Glacier National Park. Interested participants in our invasive plant mapping program can be trained in one of two ways:

1. Complete the online training session.
2. Attend Annual Weed Blitz on Tuesday, July 15. Participants will assist Glacier National Park by pulling targeted weeds.

Since 2005, the Glacier National Park Citizen Science Program has utilized trained citizen scientists to collect baseline population data on species of interest in the park. Training provided to participants serves to inform them on threats to native plants and animals that may result from human disturbance, climate change, and invasive species. Perhaps most importantly, the Citizen Science Program helps create an informed group of visitors involved in active stewardship of Glacier National Park.

Funding and support for the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center’s Citizen Science Program is provided by the Glacier National Park Conservancy. For more information on the Citizen Science Program, contact 406-888-7986 or, or visit the park website.

Hiking in Glacier National Park