Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Investigation Identifies Grizzly Bear in Surprise Attack Near Columbia Falls

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ investigation into a surprise bear attack last weekend northwest of Columbia Falls has confirmed that an adult grizzly bear was involved in the encounter.

At approximately 9:20 a.m., Nov. 11, an adult male was hunting with a partner on private timberland off Trumbull Canyon Road. The individual was walking off trail in forested timber when he reported turning around as a bear attacked him. The bear bit both of the victim’s arms and pulled the individual by the leg approximately 7-8 feet before letting go and fleeing the scene. The victim’s hunting partner contacted authorities.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ Wildlife Human Attack Response Team (WHART) responded along with Two Bear Air Rescue, North Valley Search and Rescue, Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and ALERT Air Ambulance.

Two Bear Air transported the victim to a location where ALERT Air Ambulance picked him up and transported him to Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

The FWP WHART investigation included on-site visits, victim interviews, evidence collection and analysis. The investigation has identified the animal as a grizzly bear. A “surprise encounter” prompted the attack, according to WHART investigators. No action will be taken against the bear.

Northwest Montana is bear country with populations of grizzlies and black bears. Bears are especially active in fall and early winter before denning season. Recreationists are urged to be “Bear Aware” and follow precautionary steps and tips to prevent conflicts.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The True Realities of Women’s Hiking Attire During The Victorian Era

The following is a short excerpt from my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking:

For women, hiking attire during the Victorian Era was an extremely complicated affair. The subject was frequently discussed and debated throughout the pages of Appalachia during the first decade of the Appalachian Mountain Club. The December 1887 issue of Appalachia ran a lengthy article by Mrs. L. D. Pychowska on the “walking-costume for ladies.” It provided head to toe advice on how women should dress for a hike. This included wearing a grey flannel trouser beneath two skirts. The under skirt, which reached to just below the knee, was also to be made of grey flannel. The outer skirt, however, was to be made of winsey or Kentucky jean, both of which were considered to be strong enough to withstand tears from walking through briers and undergrowth. The outer skirt was also meant to be worn to ankle length. However, if the hiker were to find herself climbing steep terrain she could simply pull out a strong clasp pin and raise the skirt higher, “washwomen fashion,” until the difficult section was completed. “Basquines,” or corsets, were optional apparel according to the author. At the end of the piece the writer assured her readers that her recommendations on female tramping attire would be “sufficiently presentable to enter a hotel or a railroad car” after a long tramp through the woods, “without attracting uncomfortable attention.”

The true realities of wearing a “costume” such as this were not considered or debated in Mrs. Pychowska’s article. Conversely, a passage in an article from the June 1877 issue of Appalachia put an exclamation point on the true dangers women faced as a result of the clothing they were forced to wear while tramping. The author related the story of a guided hike on Mt. Washington during the prior year. While descending Tuckerman Ravine one of the ladies in the group paused momentarily to stand atop a large rock above a 25-foot outcrop. Unbeknownst to the hiker, her tattered dress had become caught on a sharp protrusion on the rock. When she attempted to jump to another large rock the snag violently jolted her back, and left her dangling upside down above the abyss. Fortunately her mountain guide was nearby and was able to pull her to safety before falling.

In one particular instance the burdensome attire that women were expected to wear may have been at least partially responsible for the death of one hiker. On September 13, 1855, 22-year-old Lizzie Bourne of Kennebunk, Maine became the first woman to die while climbing Mt. Washington, and quite possibly the first woman to die while hiking in America. On that late summer day Lizzie had planned to hike to the Tip Top House atop Mount Washington with her uncle George and her cousin Lucy. As a result of early morning rain, however, the trio was forced to postpone the start of their trip. Just after lunch the weather finally cleared and they set out by trekking up the partially completed carriage road. However, as they continued towards the summit of the peak, the threesome encountered another round of bad weather while proceeding along the Glen House Bridle Path, which continued to worsen as they climbed higher. In a letter to the Boston Journal, which was intended to provide “a correct account of the whole affair,” George Bourne attested that as they ascended towards the summit, “Elizabeth began to show signs of weariness, and needed assistance.” As night fell upon the mountain, darkness and fog completely obscured the view of their destination. Fatigue had also crept in on each of the hikers. Not knowing where they were, or how far they were from their destination, the trio made the decision to lie down on the trail and wait out the night. Despite building a wind break from nearby rocks, George was convinced that each of them would perish due to the extreme cold and the violent wind. Indeed, that night, around ten o'clock, Lizzie quietly passed away while lying on the trail. In his letter to the Boston Journal, Bourne stated that it was “evident that Elizabeth did not die from the cold alone, but from some organic affection of the heart or lungs, induced by fatigue and exposure.”

With the arrival of daylight the next morning George and Lucy tragically discovered that they were within sight of the Tip Top House. Had they known that they were that close they could’ve easily made it to safety, and Lizzie likely would’ve survived. After her death tourists and hikers began piling stones on the spot where Ms. Bourne died. A stone monument now stands on that same spot to mark and commemorate her passing.

Did Lizzie’s attire contribute to her death? Perhaps. She wore a heavy skirt, petticoat, pantaloons and stockings. Nicholas Howe, author of Not Without Peril: 150 Years Of Misadventure On The Presidential Range Of New Hampshire, estimates that Lizzie may have worn as much as 45 yards of fabric! When this outfit became soaked in cold rain there’s no doubt this would’ve weighed her down, resulting in more stress on her heart, and certainly would have accelerated the effects of fatigue, exposure and hypothermia.

While Mrs. Pychowska was espousing the benefits of wearing the proper costume to coincide with the mores of the Victorian Era, there was a long debate, at least among female members in the Appalachian Mountain Club, about what women should wear while hiking. During the May 9th meeting chronicled in the June 1877 edition of Appalachia, a Miss Whitman suggested that skirts be designed in a manner so that they “could be shortened to any necessary extent by rolling it up.” A Mrs. Nowell discussed the “disadvantage of ladies on mountain excursions on account of their long skirts, and recommended the use of gymnasium dresses or something similar, as an outside garment for such occasions.” In that same edition of Appalachia, Mrs. W.G. Nowell, one of the founding members of the club, and presumably the same Mrs. Nowell who spoke out during the May 9th meeting, published an article titled, “A Mountain Suit for Women.” In this piece Harriet Nowell once again took issue with the garb women were expected to wear during this era. She also mentioned the discussions she had with other women about the impracticalities and dangers of women’s hiking attire. Apparently they had carefully deliberated over what their alternatives were, and presented one possible solution: “The only thing we could think of was a good flannel bathing suit.” Mrs. Nowell continued by stating that they “could not see why it should be more improper to wear this” suit while hiking, “than it would be along a crowded and fashionable beach.” She went on to make the point that women would be “relieved of the excessive weight of her ordinary dress,“ thus allowing them to carry their own gear. She concluded her piece by declaring that “Our dress has done all the mischief. For years it has kept us away from the glory of the woods and the grandeur of the mountain heights. It is time we should reform.”

An article published on the Tramp and Trail Club of Utica website notes that by the 1920s women had solved the problem of impractical skirts by stuffing them in knapsacks once they had reached the trailhead, and then putting them back on before returning to town. Bold and daring women eschewed skirts altogether and simply wore knickers with long socks from their home. An online exhibit on the Museum of the White Mountains at Plymouth State University website, titled, Taking the Lead: Women and the White Mountains, notes that skirts had virtually disappeared by the mid-1910s, and by the 1930s women were wearing clothes similar to what female hikers wear today, including shorts and halter tops.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking chronicles the history of the first hikers, trails and hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel, including many other stories about the attire both men and women wore during the early years of the sport. You can find the book on Amazon by clicking here.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Monday, November 12, 2018

National Parks Traveler Reviews "Ramble On"

Kurt Repanshek from the National Parks Traveler recently took the time to review my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, which he published on his website yesterday. In case you're unaware, the National Parks Traveler is the leading, editorially independent, nonprofit media organization dedicated to covering national parks and other protected areas. The website is focused on informing the public of environmental, scientific, and other newsworthy developments surrounding, involving, and affecting national parks, other protected areas and their governing bodies.

Up front, Kurt stated it pretty bluntly that: "Hiking might seem rather bland as a topic to build a book around, but just as Terence Young did in 2017 with Heading Out: A History of American Camping, Doran's research brings to light some surprising hiking trivia." He continued later, stating,: "But Ramble On is more than a book of hiking trivia, though it is chock-full of that. Rather, it can be viewed as a vehicle for taking measure of where hiking got its start, why we hike, and what the future of the activity might look like as we crowd the outdoors."

To read the entire review, please click here.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Anne's Travels Take on "Ramble On: A History of Hiking"

Earlier this week Anne Whiting, the author of Anne's Travels, published a review of my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking. Ms. Whiting, the author of three state-wide trail guides, is also the author of Anne's Travels, a blog that covers her hiking adventures across America. In fact, the blog is a very rich database chronicling hundreds of her hikes that are sorted by state. This is a great resource if you're heading to a new hiking destination and you want to find out what the best hikes are in order to make the most of your trip.

Anne concluded her review by stating: "Overall, I was very impressed with the amount of information packed into 206 pages.... It’s the perfect gift for someone who loves to hike or who loves American history. Or purchase it for yourself to immerse yourself in the history of hiking in America."

To read the entire review, please click here.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Rare Caribou Sightings Reported in Northwest Montana

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional staff have received reports of a rare sight in northwest Montana. Residents have recently documented sightings of woodland caribou near the U.S.-Canada border. The multiple sightings include the potential for a bull and a cow in separate locations.

Caribou, members of the deer family, are native to northwest Montana but have almost completely disappeared from the contiguous United States over the last half century. Woodland caribou herds once stretched from central British Columbia to Idaho, Montana and Washington. The decline in population is largely attributed to high mortality linked to habitat fragmentation, alteration, loss of old growth forest, and subsequent predation impacts. Woodland caribou are now protected in the United States and British Columbia.

Caribou have been known to roam from the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges in southern B.C into Montana, Idaho and Washington but the occurrences have become increasingly rare.

Caribou are similar in size to mule deer but have different coloration, large round hooves and unique antlers. Even cow caribou can have visible small antlers.

“There are three weeks left of big-game hunting season in Montana. Hunters are reminded to be sure of their target and beyond,” said Neil Anderson, FWP Region 1 wildlife manager.

After confirming reports of the recent sightings, Montana FWP contacted wildlife biologists in British Columbia and informed them of the sightings. FWP will continue to work closely with partners in British Columbia on the conservation of the species.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Monday, November 5, 2018

Audubon Invites You to Join the 119th Annual Christmas Bird Count

For the 119th year, the National Audubon Society is organizing its annual Christmas Bird Count. Between December 14 and January 5, tens of thousands of bird-loving volunteers will participate in counts across the Western Hemisphere. The data collected by participants continues to contribute to one of only two large existing pools of information notifying ornithologists and conservation biologists about what conservation action is required to protect birds and the places they need.

The Christmas Bird Count is one of the longest-running wildlife censuses in the world. Each individual count takes place in a 15-mile-wide circle and is led by a compiler responsible for organizing volunteers and submitting observations to Audubon. Within each circle, participants tally all birds seen or heard that day—not just the species but total numbers to provide a clear idea of the health of that particular population.

Last year, the 118th Christmas Bird Count included a record-setting 2585 count circles, with 1957 counts in the United States, 463 in Canada and 165 in Latin America, the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Pacific Islands. This was the eighth-straight year of record-breaking counts. In total, 76,987 observers out in the field and watching feeders tallied up 59,242,067 birds representing 2673 different species and 426 identifiable forms—about one-quarter of the world’s known avifauna. Approximately 5 percent of the North American landmass was surveyed by the Christmas Bird Count. Last year included a new species for the entire Christmas Bird Count database: a Mistle Thrush representing the first ever appearance of that species in North America.

Continuing the disturbing finding from last year was the continued decline of the Northern Bobwhite, the only native quail in the eastern United States. This species has essentially disappeared from the Northeast and faces massive declines due to loss of shrubland habitat exacerbated by increased droughts. Other species in decline include American Kestrels, our smallest falcon, and the Loggerhead Shrike, a predatory songbird that impales its prey on thorns. While the reasons for these declines is poorly understood, scientists suspect loss of habitat as well as susceptibility to pesticide use.

Beginning on Christmas Day in 1900, Dr. Frank M. Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore – which evolved into Audubon magazine -- proposed a new holiday tradition that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them. Conservation was in its beginning stages in that era, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. So began the Christmas Bird Count. 119 years later, the tradition continues and still manages to bring out the best in people.

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is a community science project organized by the National Audubon Society. There is no fee to participate and the quarterly report, American Birds, is available online. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels and Audubon’s free Bird Guide app makes it even easier to learn more. For more information and to find a count near you visit

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Expect Smoke Around Yellowstone's Northeast Entrance

Wildland fire staff will burn piles of woody debris near the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Parkon Thursday, November 1. Staff will ignite the piles around 10:00 a.m. Visitors should expect smoke in the area after 10:00 a.m. and through Friday, November 2. Burning the piles is the last step of the Firewise project where staff removed vegetation around buildings in order to reduce the threat of wildfire.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A View Junkie's Guide: Wyoming Dayhiking

Full disclosure: the author of A View Junkie's Guide: Wyoming Dayhiking contacted me several months ago with regards to using some of my photos for her upcoming book. No compensation was exchanged for use of these photos; however, Anne recently sent me a copy of the book. I voluntarily decided to review it here.

A View Junkie's Guide: Wyoming Dayhiking takes hikers to some of the best scenery Wyoming has to offer, including Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, as well as the Black Hills, Snowy Range, Wind River, Gros Venture and Absaroka mountains. This is the third installment in a series of hiking guides by author Anne Whiting, who has also published trail guides for Colorado and Washington state. Anne’s newest edition covers 48 individual trails, and over 175 hike options. The book is geared towards novice, moderate and adventurous hikers who enjoy spectacular views. As you might expect from the title of the book, Anne seeks out trails that offer amazing scenery. As she points out in her Introduction, many trail guides tend to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the flora, fauna, geology and local history of the trails they cover. Not in this book. Anne is focused on the views hikers will see along each of the routes she covers in her book.

Readers will appreciate the comprehensive trail directory near the beginning of the book, which is sorted by the regions covered in the state. Within each national park or mountain range are the main trails, with the various options hikers can take depending on mileage or presence of loop options. Each hike in this directory contains key data points, such as trail length, total elevation gain, as well as Anne’s ranking with regards to difficulty level, solitude and of course, the overall view rating. There’s also a page number listed next to each hike which tells the reader where to turn for detailed information on each hike. Each hike description includes directions, a trail map, key GPS coordinates, as well as photos of the scenery hikers will enjoy along the route. Anne also provides key information on trail conditions that could impact hikers. For example, in many areas of Wyoming hikers will be traveling through bear country. Anne lets readers know about certain trails that pass through prime bear habitat. In other places she warns about sections of trail where snow that can linger well into the summer. As a history enthusiast, I really enjoyed the trail trivia section provided near the end of each hike description.

As already mentioned, A View Junkie's Guide: Wyoming Dayhiking includes hikes for all levels of experience: from very short strolls, to strenuous all-day hikes. A handful of hikes covered in the book would actually be more conducive as backpacking trips, though they could be done in one-day for super-fit hikers. A prime example of this is the spectacular 19.6-mile Cascade Canyon – Paintbrush Canyon Loop in Grand Teton National Park. Another example is the 20-mile Cirque of Towers hike in the Wind River Range, a destination that’s been on my bucket list since reading about it in Backpacker Magazine many, many moons ago.

If your only intention is to visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, this book will serve you quite well, as it covers most of the best hikes in these parks, as well as several other options in the national forests that border the two parks. These hikes will offer you much more solitude if you’re visiting these popular parks during the peak tourist season. With the exception of the Bighorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming, the book covers the premier hikes in each of the major mountain ranges in the state. If you’ve only visited Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks in the past, this book will provide the inspiration to get out and explore the rest of this truly beautiful state. I can say with certainty that Anne’s book has expanded my bucket list of hikes to include the Highline Trail in the Wind River Range, as well as the Medicine Bow Peak Loop in the Snowy Range of southeast Wyoming.

For more information and to purchase the book on Amazon, please click here.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Elk Reduction Program Begins in Grand Teton

The 2018 elk reduction program begins Saturday, October 27, in Grand Teton National Park. The park’s enabling legislation of 1950 authorizes Grand Teton National Park to jointly administer an elk reduction program with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department when deemed necessary for the proper management and conservation of the Jackson Elk Herd.

Respective federal and state resource managers have reviewed available data and concluded that the 2018 program is necessary. The program is determined annually and is based on the status of the Jackson elk herd, including estimated herd size and composition and the number of elk on supplemental feed on the National Elk Refuge.

A total of 575 permits are authorized for the 2018 program, the fewest of any year the program has been in effect. Last year 600 permits were authorized and 242 elk were harvested from the park.

The areas of the park open to the program, Elk Reduction Areas 75 and 79, are mostly located east of U.S. Highway 89. Area 79, the more northerly section, closes October 31. The Antelope Flats portion of area 75 closes November 26, and the remaining portions of Area 75 close December 9. These areas remain open to park visitors, and wearing bright colors is highly recommended during this time.

Participants in the program must carry their state hunting license, conservation stamp, elk special management permit and 2018 elk reduction program park permit, use non-lead ammunition, and are limited in the number of cartridges they are able to carry each day. The use of archery, hand guns, or other non-center fire ammunition rifles is not permitted, nor is the use of artificial elk calls. In addition, participants, regardless of age, are required to carry a hunter safety card, wear fluorescent orange or pink, and carry and have immediately accessible non-expired bear spray. Information packets accompanying each permit warn participants of the risk of bear encounters and offer tips on how to minimize the risk of human-bear conflicts.

Park staff will monitor and patrol elk reduction program areas to ensure compliance with rules and regulations, interpret the elk reduction program to visitors, and provide participants with outreach regarding bear activity and safety.

An information line for the elk reduction program is available at 307.739.3681.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Thursday, October 25, 2018 Publishes Review of "Ramble On: A History of Hiking"

The author of recently published her personal take on my new book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking. As you might expect from the title of her website, is a website dedicated to female hikers. In her fairly extensive write-up, the author offered this blurb as one of her assessments of the book: "It was delightful to see the topic examined through a gender inclusive lens wherever possible."

She concluded her review by stating: "To sum up, this book is a fast read. It keeps you turning the pages to soak up the next interesting topic. Lots of great hiking facts and stories keep you entertained."

To read the entire review, please click here.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Momentum Continues to Address National Park Maintenance Needs

Earlier this month the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resource passed The Restore Our Parks Act (S.3172), an important piece of legislation that would provide dedicated funding to reduce the National Park Service’s deferred maintenance backlog – including nearly $12 billion in needed repairs across the National Park System.

The bill, introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Angus King (I-ME), will use revenue the government currently receives from energy production on federal lands and waters – up to a total of $6.5 billion over five years – to repair park roads, visitor facilities, crumbling trails and other structures. The National Parks Conservation Association has long advocated for this much-needed funding to address some of the most critical repair needs of America’s national parks.

The following is a statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association:

“We commend Congress for taking another step toward fixing our national parks. For years, NPCA has urged our lawmakers to address our national parks’ repair needs. Too many of our parks’ water systems, visitor centers, roads and trails have been neglected—not because of lack of will but because of lack of money. Park rangers have had to make due with shoestring budgets while aging infrastructure takes its toll.

“With the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s passage of the Restore our Parks Act, Congress is one step closer to ensuring that our parks can continue to provide safe and enjoyable conditions for millions of visitors, supporting local economies, while also protecting the resources that help tell our nation’s stories. Now Congress must ensure final passage before the end of the year.”

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Sunday, October 21, 2018

First Phase of Sperry Chalet Rebuild Successfully Concludes for Winter

Crews will complete Sperry Chalet reconstruction activities for the season next week and will prepare the site for winter weather. The chalet dormitory building was badly burned in the 2017 Sprague Fire. The contractor, Dick Anderson Construction, has been working at the chalet since July 9, and completed Phase 1 of the reconstruction effort one week ahead of schedule and on budget.

"I cannot say enough good things about the great team rebuilding Sperry Chalet. I've seen the photos and the progress the construction crew has made is incredible," said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "After last year's devastating fire, I made rebuilding Sperry Chalet a top priority. It wouldn't have been possible without our private partners, community members, and entire Glacier National Park team. I look forward to visiting Sperry again soon."

This summer, crews successfully stabilized the building including installing foundations, roofing, first and second story sub-floors, and interior seismic walls. The roof includes a temporary outer layer with a snow and ice shield to weather the upcoming winter, and a permanent, structural, inner roof layer.

In the next two weeks, Dick Anderson Construction will complete any remaining “punch-list” items from the Phase 1 contract and dismantle their camp for the winter.

Phase 2 design is underway with Anderson Hallas Architects out of Golden, CO with an expected completion of late winter of 2019. The design will include floor plan details including finishes, windows, doors, and balcony work. The National Park Service Denver Service Center expects to solicit bids for Phase 2 construction in spring of 2019.

“The National Park Service worked closely with Dick Anderson Construction to successfully deliver Phase 1 of this project on schedule,” said Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “This first phase was made possible with significant collaboration among the design team, construction team, the park’s philanthropic partner the Glacier National Park Conservancy, and Belton Chalets, Inc. who opened the doors of their Sperry Chalet dining room to provide crew meals along with food services for the visiting public.”

Photos and video of the construction effort can be found on the Glacier National Park Conservancy website.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, October 19, 2018

Rangers Rescue Injured Visitor at Hidden Falls

Grand Teton National Park rangers conducted an early evening short-haul rescue at Hidden Falls on the west side of Jenny Lake on Saturday, October 13. Teton Interagency Dispatch received a call at approximately 4:45 p.m. on Saturday from a bystander indicating someone had fallen and needed help at Hidden Falls. A second call from another bystander was received and additional information was communicated that the injured visitor was in the water, shivering significantly and possibly hypothermic and unable to move due to injuries.

Due to time of day and decreasing daylight, weather conditions, and information about the situation, Grand Teton National Park Rangers responded to the incident via helicopter and prepared for a short-haul evacuation.

Will Levis, 25 years of age from Rexburg, Idaho, was rescued via short-haul and transported via park ambulance to St. Johns Medical Center in Jackson. Levis and another individual were climbing the Hidden Falls water falls above the viewing area. They were scrambling across wet rocks when Levis slipped and fell approximately 20-30 feet in Cascade Creek. The temperature at the time of the accident was 35 degrees and the water temperature was estimated at approximately 40 degrees.

All visitors and recreationists are reminded that park rescue operations may be limited by reduced staff, severe weather, and limited helicopter use this time of year. Please consider the recreational experience and be prepared for self-rescue, as well as have the appropriate skills and equipment for each respective activity.

Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual or gear is suspended below the helicopter on a 150 to 250 foot rope. This method allows a rescuer more direct access to an injured party, and it is often used in the Teton Range where conditions make it difficult to land a helicopter in the steep and rocky terrain.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Announcing The Release of My New Book on The History of Hiking

I’m very excited to announce the release of my brand new book on the rich history of hiking! Ramble On: A History of Hiking is the first broad historical overview of hiking in one volume. Among the variety of topics discussed about the early years of hiking, the book also includes anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, such as Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. To give you a better idea of what the book encompasses, I've copied the introduction to the book (below), which is now available on Amazon.

Ramble On:

How did hiking evolve from the upper-class European sport of alpinism and the publication of an English travel guide into an activity that now has millions of participants all over the world? Who built the thousands of miles of trails that now crisscross America? What did early hikers wear, and what were some of the key inventions and innovations that led to our modern array of hiking gear and apparel? How was information about hiking, trails and gear disseminated in the early years? And what were some of the reasons why people hiked, and how have those changed over time?

Ramble On, a general history on the sport of hiking (also known as rambling, tramping, walking, hillwalking, backpacking or trekking), attempts to answers these questions, as well as many others. This book chronicles hiking’s roots in alpinism and mountaineering, the societal trends that fostered its growth, some of the early hikers from the nineteenth century, the first trails built specifically for recreational hiking, the formation of the first hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel.

When I first considered writing this book two years ago I wasn’t really sure how much relevant information I would be able to find, or how compelling of a story could be written about the history of hiking. I feared that I wouldn’t have enough material to write a full book. However, after diving into the project I soon realized that hiking actually has a very rich and compelling history, and has been profoundly influenced by a series of events that had nothing to do with hiking. I was continuously amazed by how much hiking has been molded by societal trends, as well as national and international events. The story of hiking took me in many directions that I never would’ve considered, from Romanticism and Transcendentalism, to the Industrial Revolution and the labor movement, to the rise of automobiles, environmentalism, club culture, and even art, to name just a few.

However, what intrigued me the most were the anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, as well as the peculiar and quirky traditions of some of the early hiking clubs. One of the most compelling stories was the apparel women were forced to wear during the Victorian Era, and the danger those fashion standards posed to women who dared to venture into the mountains.

This book also takes a look at some of the issues that currently impact hikers and trails, such as overcrowding and social media, and takes a peek into the future on how some of these trends could unfold. I also explain some of the solutions public land managers are currently considering, and offer a few suggestions myself.

My hope is that you will you come away with a better understanding of what it took to make hiking one of the most popular activities in the world, and what we need to do to preserve our trails and the spirit of hiking for future generations to come.

To order your copy now, please click here. Thank you very much!

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Highway Closure North of Colter Bay October 16 & 23: Expect Two-Hour Delays

Grand Teton National Park, in coordination with Federal Highway Administration, is conducting maintenance work at several bridge locations along U.S. Highway 89/287, in the northern area of the park. The work will involve a temporary highway closure at Arizona Creek, approximately five miles north of Colter Bay.

Two 2-hour closures of the highway are planned for Tuesday, October 16 and Tuesday, October 23. Closures will occur mid-morning and mid-afternoon each day, with time between the closures for one-way traffic access through the area.

Those wishing to access or depart Yellowstone National Park on these dates through Yellowstone’s South Gate may want to consider using the Yellowstone West Entrance to avoid the delay.

One-lane traffic with up to 15-minute delays will begin Tuesday, October 2 as construction crews prepare for the installation of the new wing walls at Arizona Creek. The delays may be daytime delays only, but it is possible that the delays may occur during the night as well. Please be prepared for 15-minutes delays through October 23.

The work will address deferred maintenance in the park. The scope of work at Arizona Creek is to replace four failing concrete wing walls that channel water into the box culverts and protect the adjacent bank. Pre-cast wing walls will be installed by using a crane to move them and set them in place. One pre-cast wing wall weighs approximately 46,000 pounds and therefore requires a large crane to set the walls in place. The crane will take up both lanes of traffic once set up.

Significant work on Pacific Creek and Spread Creek bridges along U.S. Highway 89/191/287 is also taking place with minimal traffic delays. The work as Pacific Creek is completed and work continues at Spread Creek. Please expect sporadic daytime 15-minute delays at Spread Creek for the next two weeks. Spread Creek is located approximately four miles south of the Moran Junction.

During this time of the year, visitation to the area winds down, services and facilities are closed, and there is much less traffic, making it the opportune time for this work to take place before winter weather arrives.

The construction schedule is subject to change due to weather conditions and other factors. Updates will be communicated via roadside signs near Colter Bay and Flagg Ranch, park road information line (307.739.3682), and park social media (@GrandTetonNPS on Facebook and Twitter).

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Public Invited to Mt. Brown Hawk Watch Event in Glacier

Glacier National Park will host a Mt. Brown Hawk Watch Program on Saturday, October 13 from 12 pm- 4 pm near Lake McDonald Lodge. Park biologists will teach volunteers how to identify and count migrating raptors. The event is part of the park’s Year of the Bird celebration.

Participants should bring binoculars and prepare to count Golden Eagles on their annual migration south past Mount Brown. Biologists, park staff, and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about the integral role of raptors in our ecosystems, the risks they face, and why Glacier has started the Mount Brown Hawk Watch Program. The event will begin at the Golden Eagle interpretive sign near Jammer Joe’s parking lot; snacks and hot beverages will be provided. Attendees need not stay for the whole time. Volunteers can also hike to an observation point just below Mount Brown Lookout. People interested in hiking up Mount Brown should call the Glacier Citizen Science Office for hike times and additional details.

Each year in the fall, golden eagles migrate from northern breeding grounds to warmer climates. One of the most important North American golden eagle migration routes passes directly through Glacier National Park along the Continental Divide. Large numbers of other raptors also use this migration corridor during the fall and spring months.

In the mid-1990s biologists documented nearly 2,000 golden eagles migrating past Mount Brown annually. Recent data from outside Glacier National Park indicate significant declines in golden eagle numbers. Due to this concern, the park initiated a Citizen Science Raptor Migration Project in 2011 to investigate possible locations for a Hawk Watch site. Hawk Watch sites are part of an international effort to track long-term raptor population trends using systematic migrating raptor counts. Observers also record data on sex, age, color morph and behavior of raptors, as well as weather and environmental conditions. To see a map of Hawk Watch sites around the world go to

The Year of the Bird marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the important roles birds play in our ecosystems. The National Park Service has joined in with the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, Bird Life International, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and 200 other organizations to celebrate this momentous anniversary. The MBTA has protected billions of birds since its inception. The U.S. and Canada first signed it into law in 1918. In 1936, international governments expanded the MBTA to include Mexico, followed by Japan and the former USSR (1970s).

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Monday, October 1, 2018

Grizzly Bear Research Trapping Taking Place in Grand Teton

Grizzly bear research and trapping operations will occur in Grand Teton National Park from now through mid-November. Park biologists in cooperation with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team will conduct this research to monitor the population of grizzly bears as part of on-going efforts required under the 2016 Conservation Strategy for the Grizzly Bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

When bear research and trapping activities are being conducted, the area around the site will be posted with bright warning signs to inform the public of the activities occurring. For bear and human safety, the public must respect these signs and stay out of the posted areas.

Trained professionals with the interagency team will bait and trap grizzly bears in accordance with strict protocols. Once trapped, the bears are sedated to allow wildlife biologists to collar the bears and collect samples and data for scientific study.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team was established in 1973 to collaboratively monitor and research grizzly bears in the ecosystem on an interagency basis. The gathering of critical data on the bears is part of a long-term research effort and required under the 2016 conservation strategy to help wildlife managers devise and implement programs to support the ongoing conservation of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s grizzly bear population. The team includes representatives from the National Park Service, U. S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal Fish and Game Department, and the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, September 28, 2018

Glacier National Park Prepares for Colder Temperatures

Glacier National Park has begun preparing for the winter season. Most concessioner operated services including hotel accommodations, horseback rides, guided hikes and boat tours have all ended. Sun Tours and Red Bus Tours will continue through mid-October. Village Inn will close October 1. National Park Service ranger-guided programs will continue into the fall and winter. Check the park’s website for scheduled activities.

The boating season is coming to a close. All waters east of the Continental Divide (including but not limited to Two Medicine Lake, St. Mary Lake, and Swiftcurrent Lake) will close to boating on October 1. West side waters including but not limited to Lake McDonald, Bowman Lake, and Kintla Lake, will close on November 1. The Apgar boat inspection station will be staffed every day from 8:00 - 4:00 in October. From October 14 - October 31, the station will be staffed by law enforcement rangers and may be intermittently closed due to medical emergencies or other law enforcement priorities. Similar to 2018, west side waters will reopen to boating in May of 2019 and east side waters will reopen in early June of 2019. Precise dates will be released in the early spring.

Many campgrounds have closed or have entered primitive status, which means that no running water is available. The only fully operational campground remaining for the season is the Apgar Campground. It will enter primitive status on October 9. More information about Glacier’s campgrounds can be found on the park’s Campground Status webpage.

Road crews have begun installing snow poles in the alpine section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The road will close in the alpine section the morning of October 15, meaning that October 14 is the last day to drive the road in its entirety before the alpine section closes for the winter. Once the alpine section of the road closes, crews will take down just under a mile of removable guardrail in eight foot sections to protect them from avalanches that cross the road all winter long, along with other winterization activities.

The park closes the Going-to-the-Sun Road in segments for the winter. The first segment to close is typically between Avalanche Creek on the west side and Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side. That closure typically occurs on or before the third Monday in October, weather conditions dependent. This year, a construction project will briefly close the road at the foot of Lake McDonald from October 15-19, rather than Avalanche Creek. The road then closes at Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side and the “1.5 mile gate” just past the St. Mary Campground turnoff on the east side on December 15, weather conditions permitting. It remains closed at those gates until road crews begin the spring road opening process, which typically takes approximately 3 months, starting at the beginning of April each year.

Visitors traveling to the park for the later fall and winter months should plan on dressing warmly and prepare to be more self-sufficient as some visitor services in and immediately adjacent to the park will be closed for the season. However, multiple nearby communities remain open with a full suite of year-round services for fall and winter travelers.

Information about traveling to Glacier can be found on the park’s website including trip planning information for both fall and winter.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Yellowstone Seeks Information on Gunshots Fired in the Park - Possibly at Wolves

On September 22, 2018, rangers began investigating a report that a man had fired a shotgun at some wolves that were chasing his dog east of Sedge Bay along the East Entrance Road. Law enforcement investigated the scene and found no evidence of injured wolves but they did find shotgun shells.

It is illegal to discharge a firearm in Yellowstone National Park.

In the park, pets must be physically controlled at all times. They must be in a car, in a crate, or on a leash no more than six feet long. Pets are not allowed on boardwalks, hiking trails, in the backcountry, or in thermal areas.

If you have any information about this incident, please contact the Yellowstone Tip Line at 307-344-2132.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, September 21, 2018

Proposed Grizzly Bear Population Objectives Administrative Rule Out for Public Comment; Public hearing scheduled in Missoula September 26

A proposed administrative rule that would provide a regulatory framework for grizzly bear population objectives in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) is out for public comment through Friday, Oct. 26.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is holding hearings on the proposed rule in several communities this month, and the Missoula hearing is set for Wednesday, Sept. 26, 6:30pm, at the Holiday Inn Downtown (200 S. Pattee St.). FWP staff will answer questions and take public comment on the content of the proposed rule.

The rule pertains to the NCDE, which is one of six recovery areas for grizzly bears in the lower-48 states and would codify NCDE population objectives outlined in the conservation strategy recently completed and found at

Upcoming Public Hearings:

Sept. 26 – Missoula, Holiday Inn Downtown, 200 S. Pattee St., 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 27 – Kalispell, Flathead Valley Community College, Arts and Technology Building, 777 Grandview Drive, 6:30 p.m.

Comments can be submitted during the hearings and also online at under “proposed grizzly bear ARM Rule.” Or by mail to Grizzly Bear ARM, Wildlife Division, FWP, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, Montana, 59620-0701; or e-mail, and must be received no later than Oct. 26, 2018.


National Park Service releases Yellowstone Vital Signs Report

Yellowstone National Park and the National Park Service’s Greater Yellowstone Inventory and Monitoring Network have released The State of Yellowstone Vital Signs and Select Park Resources, 2017. Vital signs highlighted in the 60-page report include the status of animal species like bison and grizzly bears, ecosystem-altering forces like climate and fire, and much more. Park and network staff compiled the report with input from park researchers.

“We are pleased to release this report to inform park staff and the public about the status and trends of our resources, and to provide updates on monitoring activities and management actions related to those resources,” said Yellowstone Center for Resources Chief Jennifer Carpenter.

“This report integrates up-to-date information on park resources from many sources, including the National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring program,” added Greater Yellowstone Network Program Manager Kristin Legg. “Partnerships within the parks and with collaborators are critical to ensuring long-term conservation of America’s national treasures.”

Download the report at or Yellowstone previously published Vital Signs reports in 2008, 2011, and 2013.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

West Side of Going-to-the-Sun Reopens to Private Vehicles

The Going-to-the-Sun Road has reopened to private vehicle travel between Apgar and Logan Pass. It is now possible to drive the entire length of the road.

The west side of the road was closed on August 12 when the Howe Ridge Fire grew significantly, burning structures and threatening the road corridor.

Drivers will not be able to stop along the road between Lake McDonald Lodge and the Avalanche Creek developed area. Avalanche is open for day use recreation, including day use areas, restrooms, the Trail of the Cedars, and the Avalanche Lake Trail. Flattop Trail and The Loop Trail are also reopening.

Winter weather has begun in some areas of the park. Intermittent snow has fallen at Logan Pass. While most trails remain open, visitors should come prepared for changing conditions and pack extra layers in the event that they encounter cold conditions as they travel throughout the park.

Access to Logan Pass will close on or before the third Monday in October for the winter season, weather conditions dependent. This year, that date is October 15th, meaning that October 14th is the last day to drive the entire length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

A culvert project near the Apgar area is scheduled to begin on October 15th, which will necessitate a temporary road closure at the foot of Lake McDonald from October 15-19 before the road reopens to Avalanche, as is customary for the fall season.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Fire Danger has Increased to Very High: Exceptionally Dry Conditions Exist in Grand Teton

The fire danger rating has been elevated to very high for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, National Elk Refuge, and remaining portions of the Teton Interagency Dispatch area.

The area has seen exceptionally dry conditions since the last appreciable rain in late August, and fuel conditions are at their driest of the season. In addition, several days of red flag warnings have elevated local fire conditions. A red flag warning is issued by the National Weather Service when relative humidity is expected to be at or below 15% and strong gusty winds are anticipated, and conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread. Red flag warnings have been issued for the Teton Interagency and surrounding areas each day since late last week. Under these conditions, local residents and visitors alike should practice heightened fire safety at all times.

When the fire danger is very high, fires can start easily from both human-caused and natural causes and, immediately after ignition, spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. Small fires can quickly become large fires and be difficult to control. They often become longer-lasting fires, exhibiting extreme fire behavior and requiring more personnel and resources. When determining fire danger, fire managers use several indicators such as the moisture content of grasses, shrubs, and trees; projected weather conditions including temperatures and possible wind events; the ability of fire to spread after ignition; and availability of firefighting resources across the country.

Over the past several days, multiple fires have started on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park. The two largest fires are the Roosevelt Fire on the Big Piney District and the Marten Creek Fire on the Greys River District, both located on the national forest. Additional fires are burning in Grand Teton National Park and the Blackrock and Pinedale Districts of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. For current information and media releases on any fires in the area, check the Teton Interagency Fire website at

At this time of the season, fire resources are stretched thin as employees finish their seasons and crews are released for the year. Many visitors and recreationists may drop their guard as nights get colder and fires season seems to wane. As hunting season picks up in the area, it is especially important to extinguish warming fires and campfires before leaving the area. Ensure all campfires are completely extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving your site. Visitors should never leave a fire unattended. The fine for an abandoned campfire is $225, but campers can also be held liable for suppression costs if their campfire becomes a wildfire.

To report a fire or smoke in the immediate area, call the Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 307.739.3630.


Monday, September 17, 2018

Going-to-the-Sun Road Temporary Road Closure at Apgar Scheduled this Fall for Culvert Project

A new culvert construction project is scheduled for this fall along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, four miles up Lake McDonald. Fire conditions permitting, the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be temporarily closed from Apgar Loop Road at the foot of Lake McDonald to Avalanche from October 15-19, 2018. Access to Apgar Village and the Apgar Visitor Center will still be available during the week. The closure is timed to coincide with the third Monday of October, the day the Going-to-the-Sun Road typically closes in the alpine section for the winter.

Hiker-biker access between October 15 and 19 is not anticipated. Administrative and local resident traffic will be permitted from 7:00 am-7:30 am, from 3:30 pm-4:00 pm, and after 6:00 pm daily during construction.

Last year the park undertook a significant culvert replacement initiative at the same location, successfully installing two large culverts. However, drainage is not behaving as anticipated, and the park is installing a third large culvert to continue to address this frequent flooding issue on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

On October 20, access to Avalanche will once again reopen, fire conditions permitting, and will remain open until the gate closes at Lake McDonald Lodge for the winter on or before December 15. Hiker-biker access will resume above the Avalanche gate on October 20. Standard hiker-biker restrictions will be in place as road winterizing procedures begin to ensure pedestrian and work crew safety.

October 14 will be the last day that visitors are able to drive to Logan Pass from both the east and west side as the park road crew begins to winterize the road, including removing log barriers to protect them from avalanche hazards, removing directional signs, and installing snow poles.

This project is a part of the larger rehabilitation efforts along the Going-to-the-Sun Road in partnership with the Federal Highways Administration. Other road rehabilitation projects underway in 2018 include slump improvements on the Many Glacier Road, road grading/gravel replacement on Bowman Lake Road, and Avalanche Campground Road, which will be closed for approximately two weeks beginning September 17 for repairs, fire conditions permitting.

In the fall, construction on the roads in front of the Many Glacier Hotel and the upper parking lot will begin. This is part of the larger rehabilitation project for the section of the Many Glacier Road from Babb, MT, to the park boundary, and from the Many Glacier entrance station into the Many Glacier Valley.

The St. Mary Entrance Station will also undergo additional changes this fall and into the spring following its construction last year to extend the building height for oversized vehicles. No significant traffic delays are expected with that work.

Looking ahead to 2019, the park expects to undertake a significant routine pavement preservation project. Pavement preservation lays layers of a protective coating over the road, extending the life of the pavement substantially. The preservation work includes the entire Going-to-the-Sun Road, Chief Mountain Road, a portion of the Camas Road, Apgar Village Loop, and other minor areas. The work requires dry and moderately warm conditions to cure. The park expects some Going-to-the-Sun Road closures related to this work. Further details about pavement preservation in 2019 will be released this winter.

The park will also repair portions of the Inside North Fork Road. The Anaconda area in need of substantial repair will not be addressed within the scope of this more minor repair. However, construction will occur at “Lover’s Leap” and Logging Creek. When completed, visitors will be able to drive the Inside North Fork Road to just north of Anaconda Creek from the Polebridge Entrance, and the Dutch Creek Trailhead from the Fish Creek Entrance. Note that the Inside North Fork Road is not the main “North Fork Road” that provides access to Polebridge and other neighboring communities.

Funding dependent, sections of Camas Road may also undergo rehabilitation. Additional details will be available in 2019 if this project is scheduled.

Current information about park roads, weather conditions, and visitor services can be found by visiting Glacier National Park’s website at or by calling park headquarters at 406-888-7800.

Please note that as of the writing of this press release, the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road has been temporarily closed due to Howe Ridge Fire activity adjacent to the Going-to-the-Sun Road.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Interagency Firefighters Respond to Leigh Canyon Fire in Grand Teton National Park

Teton Interagency firefighters responded to the Leigh Canyon Fire Saturday afternoon after reports of smoke in the area. Fire management staff are monitoring the fire and assessing management options for the long term management of the fire. The fire is located about one mile above Leigh Canyon from the west side of Leigh Lake at about 7,600 feet in elevation in Grand Teton National Park. As of Saturday evening, the size of the fire is estimated to be around three and a half acres with some spotting of downed logs in avalanche debris which caused smoke to be visible from the roads. The fire cause is unknown.

The Leigh Canyon Fire is being closely monitored by both ground and aerial resources. The fire is in a remote area and priority is firefighter and public safety. Monitoring of the fire will continue overnight.

Grand Teton National Park has evacuated three Leigh Lake backcountry campsites including 16, 14A, and 14B on the west shore of Leigh Lake. Backcountry permits are not being issued for the CMC camp on Mount Moran, campsites near Leigh Lake, Bearpaw Lake and Trapper Lake, Bearpaw Bay, and Little Grassy Island as a precautionary measure. Campers and hikers using Paintbrush Canyon and to southern Leigh Lake should be alert and prepared to modify their plans if fire behavior changes.

Grand Teton National Park was under Red Flag warning until 7 p.m. today due to high winds and low humidity. Tomorrow, lighter winds, slightly cooler temperatures, and more humidity is expected.

Fire plays a vital role in the ecosystem reducing fuel loads, allowing future fires to not grow as rapidly. Fire management objectives include firefighter and public safety, park, and forest infrastructure; while monitoring the fire as it fulfills its natural role on the landscape. Management strategies will adjust to changing conditions.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Grizzly Bear Killed in Train Collision Near West Glacier

A male grizzly bear was killed in a train collision earlier this week on the railroad tracks near West Glacier.

The 2-year-old bear was wearing a GPS radio collar, which notified Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks of the animal’s location near Nyack Flats. The collision occurred on the evening of Sept. 10, 2018. FWP personnel retrieved the carcass the next morning and confirmed the cause of death through a necropsy. FWP notified BNSF Railway and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The bear was originally captured and fitted with a radio collar at the end of May east of Bigfork and it was translocated to the east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir.

So far this year, 33 grizzly bear mortalities have been identified in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem due to a variety of circumstances, including management action, collisions, and augmentation. Bears are classified as mortalities if they die, are taken to an accredited zoo or research facility if possible, or euthanized. One-to-two bears are annually targeted for relocation to the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem as part of an augmentation program.

The NCDE is home to more than 1,000 grizzly bears. The NCDE is a designated grizzly bear recovery zone that spans Glacier National Park, parts of the Flathead and Blackfeet Indian Reservations, parts of five national forests and a significant amount of state and private lands.

FWP maintains a population monitoring program and follows protocols and management objectives that are designed to maintain a healthy grizzly bear population in the NCDE. This includes tracking known mortalities, whether bears are killed or removed from the population for a variety of circumstances, and notifying the public.

Right now bears are actively seeking food sources before the winter denning season, and residents are urged to reduce or secure attractants. FWP Region 1 has recently seen an uptick in reports of bears approaching food sources, such as fruit trees and garbage.

More safety information is available on the FWP website, Residents can call FWP regional offices to learn more about bears or to report bear activity. In northwest Montana, call (406) 752-5501.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Grand Teton To Observe National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 22

This year marks the 25th anniversary of National Public Lands Day, and in recognition, Grand Teton National Park entrance fees will be waived and volunteer opportunities will be available on Saturday, September 22. Established in 1994 and held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest single-day volunteer effort. It celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation, and general health.

Volunteers are invited to join park staff to work on the Taggart Lake trail from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 22. Work will include construction of buck and rail fencing and trail de-compaction and maintenance with light to moderate physical activity. All ages and skill levels are encouraged. Volunteers will need to bring water for the day, snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, sturdy and comfortable hiking shoes, and clothing to match the weather. Those interested in volunteering should register by contacting Angela Timby at 307-739-3379 or in order for tools and vehicles to be coordinated. Work gloves, tools, and safety equipment will be provided and all volunteers will receive a voucher that can be used for a one-time entry into any public land site that charges an entrance fee. Participants should meet at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 9:45 a.m.

National Public Lands Day is organized annually by the National Environmental Education Foundation, in cooperation with Department of the Interior, Department of the Army, and Department of Agriculture. The National Park Service is one of the event’s largest providers of sites and volunteers. Other participating federal agencies include the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, and US Army Corps of Engineers. National Public Lands Day is celebrated across the country to encourage enjoyment and volunteer opportunities on public lands.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Grand Teton Publishes Fall Closing Dates for Park Facilities and Services

The closing dates for seasonally operated facilities in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway were published yesterday, and are available here.


Monday, September 10, 2018

State Trails Advisory Committee Meeting in Great Falls -Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Montana State Parks ( announced today that the citizen Montana State Trails Advisory Committee (STAC) will hold a meeting on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 from 8:30am-3:30pm at the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 4 Headquarters, located at 4600 Giant Springs Road, Great Falls, MT.

The committee will advise on a number of trail issues, including FY2019 Recreational Trails Program guidelines and miscellaneous trail-related topics. State Trails Advisory Committee members represent both motorized and non-motorized trail user groups and provide advice and assistance for the Recreational Trails Program.

The meeting is open to the public. For more information contact Michelle McNamee, Recreational Trails Program Manager at (406) 444-7642 or

The Montana Recreational Trails Program provides grant funding to support trail construction, trail maintenance and grooming efforts, as well as trail-related education so enthusiasts can enjoy trails throughout Montana.

What: Montana State Trails Advisory Committee Meeting

When: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 from 8:30am to 3:30pm

Where: Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 4 Headquarters, 4600 Giant Springs Road, Great Falls, MT


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Glacier National Park Offering Limited Shuttle and Tour Access From West Side of Going-to-the-Sun Road beginning September 7

Glacier National Park, in coordination with the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1 has begun preparations to allow limited visitor access on the currently closed west side portion of the Going-to- the-Sun Road.

Based on information from fire managers on the Howe Ridge Fire, the park will offer limited shuttle and tour access from the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road beginning September 7. The road was originally closed for public safety on August 12 when the Howe Ridge Fire on the west side of Lake McDonald threatened the area due to extreme fire behavior, resulting in structure loss, evacuations, and significant fire traffic on the road.

Visitors will be required to use shuttle or tour services to travel through the closed area in order to provide for visitor safety and firefighter access in the fire closure area. Shuttles will not stop between Apgar and Logan Pass. Currently, private vehicles will not be allowed due to significant ongoing fire traffic operating in the closed area. Shuttle and tour services will provide visitors with access to the popular Logan Pass Visitor Center via the West Glacier Park Entrance. Shuttle capacity will be limited.

Visitors will be able to ride the park shuttle system with a free park shuttle pass, available beginning at 7:30 am each day at the Apgar Visitor Center Shuttle Stop. The passes will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis. Shuttles will depart every 30 minutes. The last shuttle will depart at 1:30 pm. The last returning shuttle from Logan Pass will depart at 4 pm.

Concessioner operated Sun Tours and Red Bus Tours will also operate in the closure area. Visitors who would like to make reservations with Sun Tours should visit the Sun Tours website. Visitors who would like to make reservations for a Red Bus Tour should visit the Glacier National Park Lodges website.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains open to private vehicles from St. Mary to Logan Pass, accessible from the east side of the park. Since the Howe Ridge Fire began on August 11, visitor services have continued in all other areas of the park, and numerous visitors continue to access the park via the St. Mary Entrance as well as the Many Glacier and Two Medicine park areas.