Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bowman Lake Road in Glacier to Undergo Repairs

Glacier National Park will begin a significant road grading and gravel replacement project on the Bowman Lake Road beginning July 17. The work will fix potholes and drainage on roadways and in ditches, and improve the overall road surface. The construction will occur on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week, and is expected to last through late summer. Visitors will be able to access Bowman Lake except for the following times:

Morning road closure: 10 am - 12 pm

Afternoon road closure: 1 pm - 3 pm

The closure times were selected based on current traffic patterns to minimize impacts on day users and backcountry hikers. Typically the area fills by mid-morning, with very few vehicles exiting the lake before the end of the day. Closure times and days of the week may be adjusted due to unforeseen repair challenges. Access restrictions may occasionally be lifted during planned closure periods while the park awaits additional gravel deliveries. Visitors arriving at the Polebridge Entrance Station will be advised of the restrictions each day.

The project is funded through fees collected at park entrance stations, and is part of a suite of summer maintenance initiatives that the park’s road crew accomplishes after spring opening is complete on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.



Jeff
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Friday, July 13, 2018

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop set for Aug. 3-5

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ popular Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program will host a weekend workshop Aug. 3-5 at Birch Creek Civilian Conservation Corps Camp near Dillon.

Women are encouraged to sign up with a friend and learn a new activity or improve existing skills. Participants get to choose four of these activities: hiking, backpacking, survival skills, how to use a map and compass, bird identification, plant identification, sausage making and more!

Anyone 18 years of age or older may participate. This is a popular workshop and will fill quickly, so register today!

To download the registration form visit the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov, click “Education,” then click “Becoming an Outdoors Woman.” For more information, call Sara Smith at 406-444-9948 or email sarsmith@mt.gov.



Jeff
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Emergency Closure for Safety at Hidden Falls Area of Jenny Lake

The National Park Service has implemented an emergency closure in the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point areas on the west side of Jenny Lake for human safety. Some recently expanding cracks and fissures have been identified in a large rock buttress above the Hidden Falls viewing area.

Superintendent David Vela said, “Human safety is our number one priority, and with an abundance of caution we are temporarily closing this area until we can properly assess the situation.”

Those familiar with the site, specifically park rangers and personnel with Exum Mountain Guides, identified the cracks and fissures and determined the situation to be a possible safety hazard. The notable changes in the rock over the past 24 hours spurred park rangers to implement a temporary closure and initiate a risk assessment with subject-matter experts.

Exum Mountain Guides are relocating their practice school services to another location, and shuttle boat and scenic cruises with Jenny Lake Boating will continue to operate. Visitors are able to ride the boat to the west shore, hike Cascade Canyon or around the lake, and enjoy some areas of the west shore as well as the front country areas of the Jenny Lake Complex.

It is unknown how long the closure at Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point areas will be in place.



Jeff
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Smoke may be visible from the Hayden Fire in Yellowstone

Smoke from the lightning-ignited Hayden Fire may be visible from the Grand Loop Road between Canyon Village and Mud Volcano.

The fire lookout on Mount Washburn spotted the 0.1-acre wildland fire Tuesday morning, July 10, and will monitor it daily. The Hayden Fire does not pose a threat to park visitors. Public and firefighter safety is the first priority for park managers.

All roads leading into and through the park are open. If fire activity increases, more information will be announced. This is the first fire in the park this season. Last year, eight fires burned less than 1 acre in total.

Stay informed about current fire activity in Yellowstone.



Jeff
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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Glacier Hosts First Alpine Bird BioBlitz

To celebrate the “Year of the Bird” and the array of birds in Glacier's alpine areas, the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center (CCRLC) will host its first Alpine Bird BioBlitz. Participants will work alongside expert birders to document and learn about twelve of Glacier’s alpine bird species.

The Alpine Bird BioBlitz will be held on Friday, July 27 at designated locations within the park. The event begins at 6:30 a.m. for most hiking destinations. Event end times will be variable with some hikes lasting into the late afternoon or early evening.

This a free event and is open to the public. Participants should be able to hike moderate to strenuous trails and have some prior birding experience. Registration is required. Visit https://www.nps.gov/rlc/crown/bioblitz.htm to register. Contact CCRLC at (406)-888-7986 or email glac_citizen_science@nps.gov for more information.

In advance of the BioBlitz, all interested members of the public are invited to attend a brown bag presentation by park wildlife biologist, Lisa Bate, on Wednesday, July 25 from 12:00-1:00pm at the West Glacier Community Center. The presentation will include an overview of the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Alpine Bird BioBlitz, a guide to identifying the focal alpine bird species in the field, and a brief look at the survey protocol to be used during the BioBlitz. No registration is required to attend the brown bag presentation. BioBlitz participants are encouraged, but are not required, to attend the Wednesday presentation.

The Year of the Bird is a year-long celebration of birds and marks the significance of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, signed in 1918. Organizations like the National Park Service have joined with the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, Bird Life International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to celebrate birds and encourage actions to protect birds and their habitats.

Visit the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center events page for more information on other learning opportunities offered this summer.



Jeff
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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fire Danger Has Increased to Moderate in Grand Teton

Teton Interagency fire managers announce the fire danger rating has been elevated to moderate for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, National Elk Refuge, and remaining portions of the Teton Interagency Dispatch area. The potential for fire activity has increased due to summer curing of vegetation combined with warmer, drier conditions.

A moderate fire danger rating means fires can start from most accidental causes. Unattended campfires and brush fires have potential to escape, especially on windy days in dry, open areas.

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 both within the region as well as other parts of the country.

In areas where campfires are allowed, fires should never be unattended and must be completely extinguished. Simply pouring water on the remains of a fire is not sufficient. The charred remains must be repeatedly doused with water and stirred into the campfire ring. All embers and logs, not just the red ones, should be broken up and covered with dirt. Before leaving the area, the campfire remains must be cold to the touch.

Visit the Teton Interagency Fire web site at https://gacc.nifc.gov/gbcc/dispatch/wy-tdc to learn more about fire safety and what fire regulations may be in place. To report a fire or smoke in the immediate area, call the Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 307.739.3630.



Jeff
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Hard-sided Camping Only at Many Glacier

Effective immediately, the Many Glacier Campground will temporarily be limited to hard-sided camping. This means that tents and soft-sided campers will not be permitted until further notice. Camper vehicles such as VW buses and pickup trucks with small canvas pop-ups are allowed as long as the canvas is not exposed.

On Friday morning at 10:30 am, a small grizzly bear weighing approximately 150 pounds, entered the Many Glacier Campground. It crossed a stream, entered a campsite, and compelled two campers to move away from a picnic table where they were cleaning two recently caught Brook Trout. One of the campers sprayed the bear with bear spray from a distance of 15 feet. The spray was unsuccessful in deterring the bear’s approach, and it proceeded to climb on top of the picnic table and consume the fish. It also sniffed, pawed, and bit two nearby backpacks.

Park rangers responded and used hazing techniques to encourage the bear to move out of the campground. Prior to its departure, it dug into two fire pits, sniffed picnic tables, a tent, and an RV with visitors inside.

The park is attempting to trap the grizzly bear for further management action. The bear exhibits numerous signs of food-conditioning and meets the definition of a conditioned bear in Glacier National Park’s Bear Management Guidelines. A non-conditioned bear would typically not enter a campsite with people present and resist human attempts to scare it away. Conditioned bears are usually removed from the population by being placed in zoos or euthanized.

Once bears have successfully obtained unnatural food from people or become accustomed to foraging in developed areas, it is very difficult to change their behavior to return to wild areas and natural food sources. Once they have received a human food reward, they often become a safety hazard as they become increasingly aggressive seeking out and obtaining subsequent food rewards. In 1976, a conditioned grizzly bear dragged a camper from her tent in the Many Glacier Campground and killed her.

Glacier National Park has a proactive bear management program that seeks to prevent conditioning through public education, bear-wise waste management, aggressive enforcement of food storage regulations, and application of hazing and aversive conditioning techniques to teach bears to avoid humans and developed areas.

Visitors and residents are urged to learn more about the importance of food storage while living and recreating in bear country for bear and human safety.



Jeff
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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Mount Washburn To Close For The Season

The popular Mount Washburn Trails from Dunraven Pass and Chittenden Road will close this summer for the remainder of the season. Located north of Canyon Junction, the trails and trailhead parking lot closures will go into effect around the beginning of July (the date will be announced when known).

These closures are necessary for public safety during important projects:

• Construction will occur at the historic Mount Washburn Fire Lookout to improve park telecommunications services in developed areas. Contractors will build a three-sided antenna mounting structure and repair rock walls and surfaces around the lookout, reduce the number of antennas attached to its exterior, and complete concrete preservation work in and outside of the structure.

• Windows in the lookout, damaged in a storm this winter, will be replaced.

• The park’s trail crew will rebuild rock walls along the Dunraven Pass switchbacks using heavy equipment and rehabilitate other portions of the trail. Explosive work may occur.

Please plan accordingly. Find updated trail status on the park website and at visitor centers.

Yellowstone has more than 900 miles of hiking trails. In lieu of Mount Washburn, consider hiking Bunsen Peak near Mammoth Hot Springs, Purple Mountain north of Madison Junction, or Avalanche Peak along the East Entrance Road.



Jeff
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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Rangers Recover Climber’s Body on Teewinot Mountain

Grand Teton National Park rangers have recovered the body of a climber on the east face of Teewinot Mountain yesterday.

The deceased climber is identified as 27-year old Burak Akil of Wayne, New Jersey. It is believed Akil was solo climbing Teewinot Mountain on Sunday, and fell on the descent.

After Akil did not report to work Monday morning, a coworker who knew Akil had been climbing in the park called Teton Interagency Dispatch Center and went to the Lupine Meadows Trailhead to search for Akil’s vehicle. The vehicle was located at the trailhead parking area.

A search was initiated with two park rangers hiking to the area at approximately 8:45 a.m. Rangers also began to scan the peaks with spotting scopes and identified an area of interest on the east face of Teewinot Mountain. Rangers hiked to the location and confirmed the fatality at approximately 11:15 a.m.

Park rangers recovered the body via a long-line aerial operation.

Akil was climbing solo, wearing a helmet and had appropriate climbing gear, including an ice axe and crampons.

Park rangers encourage backcountry climbers and hikers to “Know Before You Go” and be well prepared for any backcountry adventure. Please be prepared with appropriate equipment and skills, and always let someone know your planned route and estimated return time.



Jeff
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Monday, June 25, 2018

RockyMountainHikingTrails.com Adds Eight New Hikes

Hey all - I just returned from a late spring hiking trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, and as a result, have added eight new hikes to our website. Here's a quick rundown of the hikes we were able to do during our trip:

West Creek Falls - On our first day we decided to take a fairly easy hike and give ourselves a chance to acclimate to the altitude. West Creek Falls just north of Estes Park was the perfect choice. Though there is a short climb at the beginning of the hike, the trail was very pleasant, much of it passing through a montane forest of ponderosa pine with lots of wildflowers. The falls were very scenic as well.

Lake Verna - On our second day we drove over to Grand Lake to do our longest hike of the trip. Our ultimate destination, 6.9 miles from the trailhead, was Lake Verna. If the thought of trekking that far seems too daunting you could shorten the hike by ending it at Lone Pine Lake, or taking a really short hike and stopping at a low bluff that overlooks East Meadow where you'll have a great opportunity to spot moose and elk. No matter your choice, each destination passes Adams Falls near the trailhead.

Battle Mountain - Battle Mountain was supposed to be the highlight of our trip. Unfortunately haze from wildfires in the region swept through the park that day and blotted out the normally beautiful and expansive views. This "flattop" mountain is located just north of Granite Pass near Longs Peak, the tallest mountain in the park. Normally you can expect spectacular 360-degree views from this lofty perch.

Chasm Falls - If you're looking for an easy hike on your next visit I would definitely recommend Chasm Falls, arguably the most impressive waterfall in Rocky Mountain National Park. The waterfall is located just off the historic Old Fall River Road in the Horseshoe Park area.

Lawn Lake - I've been waiting to do this hike for a long time. The trail was closed for awhile after the September 2013 flood, which washed out a few sections of the trail. Fortunately park crews have repaired those sections over the last two seasons. This hike did not disappoint, and was probably the best day we had in the mountains. It was a quintessential Colorado day, with mild temperatures and bluebird skies. The lake and the surrounding 13K-foot peaks were absolutely spectacular.

Aspenglen Loop - Despite this being a horse trail, meaning lots of horse manure along the path, the Aspenglen Loop near the Fall River Entrance Station is a hidden gem. This short loop offers spectacular views of the Mummy Mountains, a wide variety of wildflowers, and a great opportunity to spot a wide variety of wildlife.



Jeff
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Friday, June 22, 2018

National Park Service Releases Review of Fire at Glacier National Park’s Sperry Chalet

The National Park Service (NPS) has issued the results of an independent review and investigation of the fire that burned the dormitory of the Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park in August 2017.

The review outlines the origins and growth of the Sprague fire over the course of three weeks, until it reached the Sperry Chalet complex on August 31. It concludes that despite the best efforts of firefighters to protect all the structures at Sperry Chalet, an ember entered the structure near a second story window and ignited the wooden portion of the structure.

Fire crews successfully protected other structures within the Sperry Chalet complex. No lives were lost and no injuries occurred while defending the complex.

"Growing up near Glacier National Park, I have a special appreciation for the cultural significance of the Sperry Chalet," said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "I applaud the great work of the firefighters who responded so bravely to the flames, and I look forward to rebuilding the Sperry Chalet as part of President Trump's focus on our American infrastructure. Still, the size and scope of the Sprague fire reminds us that aggressive fuels management is necessary to keep Americans safe from wildfires, particularly in the West. We need to continue removing the dead and dying timber from our forests so that we can truly address this problem."

The summer of 2017 was a challenging fire season nationwide. The location of Sperry Chalet deep in the park's backcountry presented additional logistical obstacles to firefighting. Water availability to operate sprinklers and hose systems was a concern due to early snowpack melt and lack of spring and summer precipitation. The lack of roads in the vicinity of the chalet made it impossible for fire engines to assist.

Retardant drops had been considered to assist in the protection of the Sperry Chalet complex, however, the terrain that makes for beautiful views from the chalet also made effective aerial retardant drops extremely difficult and dangerous to pilots. At the time the dormitory caught on fire, winds were blowing at 20 to 30 miles per hour and smoke blanketed the area.

The review provides observations and recommendations for the National Park Service and interagency fire community. Among these, the review team noted:

● Sprinklers were installed on the roof of the dormitory by a Glacier National Park maintenance employee trained in fall protection. The sprinklers were operating at the time the dormitory ignited.

● Recommend that specific NPS wildland firefighters also be trained in fall protection to safely install sprinklers and shelter wrap. The focus for this training could be for parks with remote, high-risk historic structures.

● During the incident, there was much discussion about shelter wrapping the Sperry Dormitory. Shelter wrapping involves installing an aluminum barrier curtain around the entire structure. The review team consistently heard that firefighter safety was the first priority and the dormitory could not be completely and effectively wrapped due to the building construction. The lower part of the building was wrapped and was the highest level of work that could be accomplished safely and effectively.

● Structure protection means that firefighters take appropriate measures, such as safely wrapping the areas where it will be effective, and realize that sometimes it means accepting unavoidable vulnerability, especially when highly flammable structures are situated in dangerous topographic settings.

“Wildland firefighters put forth their best effort in a difficult situation. We will use what we learned from the loss of this iconic structure to improve where we can safely do so,” said National Park Service Fire Director Dan Buckley. “The action items resulting from the investigation and review will inform us for managing risk in future similar situations.”

Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow said, "I and the park staff want to thank the review team. We appreciate their work and professionalism while reviewing this difficult event. We also deeply appreciate the work of the firefighters who tirelessly fought the fire throughout the night on August 31 at the Sperry Chalet Complex, saving the historic dining room and multiple other important buildings. We now turn our attention to restoring the Sperry Chalet experience for the next 100 years."

The NPS delegated the review and investigation of the fire at Sperry Chalet to an independent team of six interagency fire experts in September 2017. The primary goal of the investigation was to determine the dormitory fire’s cause, while the review was to understand the decisions made based on the conditions that existed, and to identify and share lessons learned within both the National Park Service and interagency fire community.

The review report and fire investigation are located on the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned website.

Additional images and video are available on Glacier National Park’s Flickr page.



Jeff
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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Yellowstone Forever grants $5.9 million to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Forever is providing $5.9 million to fund 53 priority projects in Yellowstone National Park including the wolf program, trailhead information displays, and black bear research.

“Yellowstone National Park is a wonderland that deserves our stewardship and support,” said Heather White, Yellowstone Forever President & CEO. “At Yellowstone Forever, we are proud to partner with the National Park Service to fund vital park projects and exceptional educational programs that inspire and engage. We look forward to continuing our work together to help preserve and enhance the world’s first national park for generations to come.”

Projects funded by Yellowstone Forever include wildlife research and management, visitor experience, youth education, and sustainability, among others. In 2018, $1 million will support the National Park Service’s Native Fish Restoration program, a major effort to restore native fish populations to sustainable levels. Another grant will go towards visitor and wildlife safety education, providing support for seasonal rangers and volunteers to deliver safety information at wildlife traffic jams, demonstrations on how to use bear spray, and safe hiking and camping practices.

Other grants support programs that directly engage youth, helping cultivate the next generation of stewards. The Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps is a work-based learning program that engages teams of 15- to 18-year-olds in leadership, education, recreation, and work activities. The program promotes stewardship of Yellowstone and other wild places among the next generation, while also providing much-needed work for park projects.

While not everyone has the chance to visit Yellowstone, the park can still reach new audiences by visiting students in their schools through distance learning programs. Since 2011, Yellowstone has offered the opportunity for classrooms to have a park ranger visit them virtually through video conference technology. Students can learn about topics such as volcanoes, park ecology, wildlife, and history. Demand for this program continues to grow each year, and support from Yellowstone Forever will ensure students from around the world participate in this program for years to come.

“Yellowstone National Park staff whole-heartedly thank Yellowstone Forever and the generous donors for their commitment to this exceptional place,” said Superintendent Dan Wenk. “This park is incredibly fortunate to have such a sophisticated and professional partner in Yellowstone Forever. The dedication they show in their work enhances park resources and visitor experiences.”

Yellowstone Forever is the official education and fundraising nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park. Proceeds from Yellowstone Forever’s educational Park Stores, Institute, and philanthropic efforts support priority park projects and visitor education. Thanks to generous donations from supporters around the world, Yellowstone Forever, and its predecessor organizations, have provided over $106,000,000 cash and $171,000,000 in-kind support to Yellowstone National Park.



Jeff
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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

National Park Service Awards Contract for First Phase of Sperry Chalet Construction at Glacier National Park

The National Park Service (NPS) announced last week the award of a $4.08 million dollar contract to Dick Anderson Construction out of Great Falls, MT, to begin rebuilding the historic Sperry Chalet Dormitory in Glacier National Park. The chalet was badly burned in August 2017 during the Sprague Fire that burned thousands of acres in the park. Construction will be completed in two phases, beginning this summer and continuing into 2019.

The NPS expects that work this year will begin in early July, and continue through mid-fall, weather permitting. The Denver Service Center, the NPS’ central planning, design, and construction management office, awarded the contract for phase one and will oversee the upcoming project.

The first phase of the project will include permanent building stabilization, including roofing and interior seismic walls. The work will complement Phase 2, scheduled for the summer of 2019, and provide additional protection as the chalet faces wind and heavy snow next winter.

The initial construction phase will be funded primarily with federal dollars. Subsequent project phases will be funded with a $1.2 million property insurance reimbursement, privately solicited donations from the Glacier National Park Conservancy, and additional federal funds.

Rebuilding of the Sperry Chalet on its original site was made possible because of the quick response and financial support of the Conservancy immediately after the fire. The Conservancy raised $200,000 for a “Phase Zero” emergency stabilization and preservation of the chalet’s stone masonry walls before winter set in. The response also reduced subsequent project costs.

"The outpouring of support for this project has been inspiring," said Doug Mitchell, Executive Director of the Glacier National Park Conservancy. "We're honored to help provide private, philanthropic support for this historic project.”

“The fact that we are here today to announce the award for Phase I of the Sperry rebuild speaks to the power of the Glacier community and partnership. Throughout our design process, we heard from visitors around the world about the significance of the Sperry Chalet visitor experience,” said Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “I would like thank everyone who provided feedback and ideas about how we preserve that experience for the next 100 years. The award of the Phase I construction contract to Dick Anderson Construction puts us a long way towards that goal.”

The NPS will rebuild the Sperry Chalet Dormitory at its original site within the original stone masonry walls. The design will rehabilitate the chalet dormitory reflecting its period of significance (1914-1949). Some critical updates will include meeting current building codes where applicable, and improvements to life safety features including seismic bracing and fire resistant materials. The visitor experience will be very similar to what it has been for decades by using as much of the remaining historic fabric, and replicating historic finishes where practicable. For more information, please visit the Sperry Chalet planning webpage.



Jeff
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Glider Wreckage Found in Grand Teton - Rangers Recover Two Bodies

Teton Interagency Dispatch was contacted at approximately 12 p.m. Saturday, June 9, about two individuals that did not return from a scenic glider ride that departed from Driggs, Idaho. The call was being investigated by the Teton County Wyoming Sheriff’s Office as initial indications were that the glider and individuals may be located south of the park boundary.

As park crews were mobilizing to assist Teton County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, the park received information that one of the individual’s phone was pinged and it indicated a location in the park. An independent helicopter then contacted the park that they saw what they believed to be glider wreckage in the park. Park rangers flew to the site, confirmed it was the glider and that there were two deceased individuals. The wreckage was located between the Middle and South Teton, above Icefloe Lake at approximately 10,800 feet.

Park rangers recovered the two bodies via a long-line aerial operation.

The glider pilot is identified as Kristine Ciesinski, age 65, of Victor, Idaho. The other individual is identified as David Ross, age 65, of Salt Lake City.

The National Park Service is conducting an investigation.



Jeff
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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Exhibits Planned for Glacier View Turnout - Temporary Closure of Turnout Next Week

The Glacier View Turnout, located approximately 3.5 miles north of the Moose Junction on US Highway 26/89/191, will be temporarily closed from Monday, June 11 through Friday, June 15 for construction activities to prepare the site for a gathering area with educational exhibits.

During this time, visitors will be able to access nearby turnouts including Blacktail Ponds Overlook, Schwabacher's Landing, Teton Point Turnout, and Snake River Overlook, all located along US Highway 26/89/191.

The park is creating an interpretive and educational exhibit that will allow visitors to learn about several themes related to the park, including the historic and continuing role that philanthropy has played in the evolution of lands in Grand Teton National Park. Installation of the exhibits and stone benches is planned for the spring.



Jeff
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Friday, June 8, 2018

Yellowstone visitor gored by bison after crowd gets too close

On the morning of June 6, 59-year-old Kim Hancock of Santa Rosa, California, was gored by a bull bison at Fountain Paint Pot in the Lower Geyser Basin.

Hancock and a crowd of people approached within ten yards of the bison while walking along a boardwalk. At one point, people were closer than 15 feet from the bison. When it crossed the boardwalk, the bison became agitated and charged the crowd, goring Hancock. The bison immediately left the area.

Rangers responded to the incident and treated Hancock for a hip injury: she was transported by paramedic ambulance to the Big Sky Medical Center in Big Sky, Montana, in good condition.

This incident remains under investigation.

This is the second incident of a bison injuring a visitor in 2018. There was one incident in 2017 and five in 2015. In a little over a month, four people have been injured by wildlife in Yellowstone.

Animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be. Give animals space when they’re near trails, boardwalks, parking lots, or in developed areas. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk. If you can’t maintain these distances, turn around and find an alternate route.



Jeff
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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Second Person Injured By Elk In Accidental Encounter in Yellowstone

Penny Allyson Behr, age 53, from Cypress, Texas was attacked by a cow elk in an accidental encounter behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel on the morning of Tuesday, June 5. Ms. Behr was walking between two cabins when she was surprised by an elk bedded along the cabin wall with a calf nearby. She attempted to back away but the elk pursued and struck her with its legs in the head and torso. Ms. Behr was taken by ambulance to Livingston Memorial Hospital.

It’s very common for cow elk to aggressively defend newborn calves and hide them near buildings and cars. Be extra cautious anywhere elk and calves are present: approach blind corners slowly and maintain a safe distance (at least 25 yards).

It’s not known if this was the same elk involved in the incident on June 3. Rangers hazed the elk away from the cabins and continue to monitor the area. No citation was issued.



Jeff
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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

#Hike4Hope to raise awareness and funds to end extreme poverty

Trey and Madison Cason, a young couple embarking on a journey to hike the Appalachian Trail, recently announced their intent to raise $219,000 for work to end extreme poverty through Global Hope Network International. Trey and Madison both gave notice to their employers, transitioning from well-paying professional positions, to become humanitarian aid workers this past month. To launch their career shift, the couple will begin hiking the trail from Maine on June 13th, which is expected to last until late fall 2018.

Madison shared, “Growing up with families who took us to different state parks to hike and camp, cultivated an appreciation for the outdoors and a love for nature. As a couple, we’ve been dreaming about hiking the Appalachian Trail for several years. We want to follow this dream while impacting the lives of those living in South Asia by offering a ‘hand-up’ not a ‘hand-out’.” When asked about personal comforts, Madison confessed, “While I officially get to put my record of not showering for six days to the test and Trey is excited to up his facial hair game from Duck Dynasty to Full Chewbacca!” This couple is serious!

Global Hope Network International (GHNI.org)

GHNI.org seeks to bring help and hope to the hidden and hurting through the empowerment of villagers seeking to end their own extreme poverty utilizing local resources and labor. With a small amount of donated funds ($12,000 to $18,000 annually), villages become self-sustaining in just five years. That’s only $60,000 to $90,000 total to bring an average of 1500 people out of extreme poverty!

Getting Involved

While Trey and Madison are excited to begin the journey, traveling with friends along the way and being encouraged along is an added benefit. Individuals can truly track progress and work to meet up with Trey and Madison along the way for short periods, hike locally near their home or even on their treadmill! Wherever you hike, get pictures and video and post them using #Hike4Hope. To join the fun financially, show your support by giving through Hike4Hope.Rocks or email daphne.keys@ghni.org to set up your own Hike4Hope donation page!

However, you participate, follow along the blog to learn how Trey and Madison process along their journey and if they run into any fun challenges! GHNI will be posting regularly at Hike4Hope.Rocks. Finally, you can check out this short message from Trey and Madison:





Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
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Monday, June 4, 2018

Yellowstone Employee Seriously Injured By Elk

Charlene Triplett, age 51, from Las Vegas, Nevada, was attacked by a cow elk behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel on Sunday, June 3.

The elk was protecting a calf bedded down roughly 20 feet away and hidden by other cars. It’s not known if Ms. Triplett saw the calf or the elk prior to the encounter. The elk reportedly reared up and kicked Ms. Triplett multiple times with its front legs, hitting her head, torso, and back.

Due to the severity of her injuries, Ms. Triplett was flown to the trauma center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. At the time of the incident Ms. Triplett was off-duty. She is an employee at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.

Rangers remained in the area to warn others about the elk and calf. No citation was issued.

Use caution around elk, especially during calving season: always remain at least 25 yards (23 meters) away from these animals.



Jeff
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Temporary Closure on Moose-Wilson Road This Summer

Several activities are taking place this summer in the Moose-Wilson Corridor to improve safety and the visitor experience. These activities include dust abatement, road grading and survey work.

The unpaved section of the Moose-Wilson Road in Grand Teton National Park will be temporarily closed for seasonal dust abatement beginning 4 a.m. Tuesday, June 5 and will reopen by 8 a.m. Thursday, June 7. This routine dust abatement application happens several times during the summer on the approximately one-mile unpaved section of the seven-mile road.

During the dust abatement application June 5-7, motorists and bicyclists should plan to use an alternate route as this temporary closure will prevent making a ‘through trip’ on the Moose-Wilson Road from Granite Canyon Entrance Station to the Teton Park Road at Moose, Wyoming. This is the first of three scheduled dust abatement treatments for the 2018 season.

For those wishing to reach the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve or Death Canyon Trailhead, access will be possible by heading south from Moose. Electronic signs will be placed on Wyoming Highway 390 and near Moose to alert park visitors and local residents of the scheduled road closure.

The product used for dust abatement is a slurry of magnesium chloride—the same product that is used to treat dirt roads in and around Jackson Hole. This product coats the road surface, but it can also adhere to the undercarriage of vehicles. Motorists who drive the unpaved portion of the Moose-Wilson Road after it reopens on Thursday may want to rinse off their vehicles to eliminate any residue.

In addition, the unpaved section of the Moose-Wilson Road will be graded this summer to maintain a better and safer driving surface between dust abatement applications. To minimize the impact to visitors, the additional grading operations will be conducted at night between the hours of 8 p.m. – 6 a.m. Three grading operations are planned for one night in late June, mid-August, and late September. The unpaved section of the road will be closed to public access during these night grading operations.

Dust abatement and grading operations will improve visitor safety and experience and will continue until the unpaved section of the Moose-Wilson Road is reconstructed and paved, as determined in the Moose-Wilson Corridor Comprehension Management Plan Record of Decision. The park is working in partnership with Federal Highway Administration to create a preliminary design for the unpaved section, as well as other improvements to the road. Initial work related to paving is anticipated to begin in late fall 2019.

Beginning June 8 through June 22, geotechnical surveying will be conducted along the entire length of the Moose-Wilson Road between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. The road will remain open, but traffic delays up-to-15 minutes are expected, as well as some areas that will be limited to alternating one-way traffic. The surveys will determine subsurface conditions along the road that will be used in the design of road improvements.

Earlier this spring park crews implemented drainage improvements along the northern section of the Moose-Wilson Road south of Sawmill Pond due to significant groundwater flooding. At the same time, roadside barriers were installed to minimize damage to roadside vegetation and protect the new drainage structures.

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



Jeff
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Friday, June 1, 2018

Jenny Lake Update: What to Expect in 2018

The Jenny Lake Renewal Project will enter its fifth and final major construction season this summer at Grand Teton National Park. The $19 million project to enhance the visitor experience at the park’s most-visited destination will impact visitors in the South Jenny Lake developed area and the west shore of Jenny Lake. Summer visitors to Jenny Lake should plan ahead, arrive early or visit late, and be vigilant in this active construction zone.

As the project enters its final phases, visitors will continue to enjoy the results of the project. Newly reconstructed trails that reflect the historic Civilian Conservation Corps character, a new paved path leading from the visitor center to the lakeshore, spectacular new viewpoints, new benches, and interpretive exhibits will greet visitors to the area.

All South Jenny Lake visitor services, including the shuttle boat and scenic cruises, will be open during the 2018 summer season. Portable toilets will be available as the area’s restrooms are renovated, and the visitor center will continue to operate in a temporary facility. Detailed information regarding South Jenny Lake visitor services and operating hours can be found at go.nps.gov/jennylake.

Parking at the South Jenny Lake area will continue to be extremely limited, especially for buses, recreational vehicles, and trailers. To avoid parking challenges, visitors are encouraged to arrive early, before 9:00 a.m., or arrive later in the day, after 4:00 p.m., when it is generally less crowded.

Visitors to the west shore of Jenny Lake will be able enjoy rehabilitated trails and a new Hidden Falls viewing area. Those who desire may continue their hike 0.3 miles further uphill to a scenic viewpoint called Lower Inspiration Point. The traditional Inspiration Point is undergoing rehabilitation and is closed for the summer. Those wishing to access Cascade Canyon may do so via the horse trail bypass. The lower hiking trail along the southwestern shore of Jenny Lake will be closed this summer.

The Jenny Lake Renewal Project is a public-private partnership between the National Park Service and Grand Teton National Park Foundation. The foundation has contributed $14 million for this project and the National Park Service has contributed $5 million.

To see a map of the closures, please visit the Grand Teton National Park Foundation website.



Jeff
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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Secretary Zinke Announces 19 New National Recreation Trails in 17 States

Continuing his work to expand recreational opportunities on public lands, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today designated 19 national recreation trails in 17 states, adding more than 370 miles to the national recreation trails system of more than 1,000 trails in all 50 states.

"By designating these new national trails, we acknowledge the efforts of local communities to provide outdoor recreational opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone," said Secretary Zinke. "Our network of national trails provides easily accessible places to exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities across the country."

On Saturday, June 2, hundreds of organized activities are planned as part of National Trails Day, including hikes, educational programs, bike rides, trail rehabilitation projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications. Trails of the National Recreation Trails system range from less than a mile to 485 miles in length and have been designated on federal, state, municipal and privately owned lands.

"The network of national recreation trails offers expansive opportunities for Americans to explore the great outdoors," said National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith. "As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System, I hope everyone will take advantage of a nearby national trail to hike or bike."

While national scenic trails and national historic trails may only be designated by an act of Congress, national recreation trails may be designated by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture in response to an application from the trail's managing agency or organization.

The National Recreation Trails Program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with a number of Federal and not-for-profit partners, notably American Trails, which hosts the National Recreation Trails website.

For more information on the newly designated trails, please click here.




Jeff
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Friday, May 25, 2018

Glacier National Park To Rebuild Sperry Chalet

Glacier National Park announces the completion of the environmental analysis and review process for the Sperry Chalet, Next 100 Years Project. The Finding of No Significant Impact, or FONSI (the decision document), was signed by the NPS Intermountain Regional Director on May 13, 2018. The National Park Service (NPS) reached the decision after careful analysis of the environmental impacts associated with the project and serious consideration of public comments on the environmental assessment (EA) released in April 2018.

The NPS will rebuild the Sperry Chalet Dormitory Building that was badly burned in the 2017 Sprague Fire. Specifically, the NPS will rebuild the Sperry Chalet Dormitory at its original site within the original stone masonry walls. The design will rehabilitate the chalet dormitory reflecting its period of significance (1914-1949). Some critical updates will include meeting current building codes where applicable, and improvements to life safety features including seismic bracing and fire resistant materials. The visitor experience will be very similar to what it has been for decades by using as much of the remaining historic fabric, and replicating historic finishes where practicable. Construction will be completed in two phases, proposed for the summers of 2018 and 2019. Cost considerations and other unforeseen events or other conditions could affect the construction schedule.

"Rebuilding historic Sperry is a priority, and I applaud the quick efforts of the Glacier Conservancy, the park, and the park community to move this project forward," said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "We are one significant step closer to celebrating future Sperry adventures."

“Today we are one significant step closer in restoring the Sperry experience for the next 100 years of park visitors,” said Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “We discovered many important design and resource considerations in our conversations with the public throughout the planning process this spring, and look forward to carrying many of them forward.”

The park received 72 comment letters during the EA review period; 58 supported the park’s preferred alternative. One supported rebuilding the chalet in an alternate location, and six supported the No Action alternative. Seven letters contained substantive comments that were responded to in the FONSI.

In general, comments strongly stated their support for rebuilding the chalet and restoring the Sperry Chalet experience in Glacier. A few commenters expressed concerns about impacts on recommended wilderness, wildlife and visitors from the helicopter activity and increased noise levels. Others expressed concerns about the cost of rebuilding a structure that serves a relatively small percentage of visitors annually.

This month, the NPS, in conjunction with Anderson Hallas Architects, will move forward with preparing for the first phase of the project, including announcing bid solicitations for associated construction contracts and continuing work on design and construction drawings for subsequent phases of the project.

The FONSI is available online on the NPS planning website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/SperryChalet2018.




Jeff
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Wolf numbers remained strong in 2017

According to the 2017 Montana Gray Wolf Program Annual Report, population estimates suggest there are approximately 900 wolves in Montana. This marks the 13th consecutive year that Montana has far exceeded wolf recovery goals.

FWP now estimates wolf numbers using a method called POM, or Patch Occupancy Modeling. The old way of trying to count wolves from an airplane became a less and less accurate picture of wolf numbers as the wolf population grew beyond anyone’s ability to count it. Additionally, the old method was expensive and took up a lot of staff time.

FWP has used POM estimates along with the old minimum counts for several years. POM uses wolf sightings reported to FWP during annual deer hunter surveys, known wolf locations, habitat variables and research-based wolf territory and pack sizes to estimate wolf distribution and population size across the state. The most recent POM estimates were 961 wolves in 2015 and 851 in 2016. Data has been gathered for 2017 estimates and analysis will take place during summer 2018.

Montana’s wolf population has remained relatively stable with an annual wolf harvest that averages about 225 animals per year. During the 2017-2018 wolf season, 255 wolves were harvested: 65 percent hunting, 35 percent trapping. Approximately, $380,000 was generated for wolf conservation and management by wolf license sales.

Livestock depredation by wolves during 2017 was approximately 25 percent of what it was in 2009, when it was at a peak. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services confirmed 80 livestock losses to wolves in 2017, which included 49 cattle, 12 sheep, and 19 goats during 2017. One dog was also killed by wolves. This total was up compared to 53 livestock losses during 2016. During 2017 the Montana Livestock Loss Board paid $64,133 for livestock Wildlife Services confirmed as probable or certain wolf kills.

To learn more about Montana’s wolf population, visit FWP online at fwp.mt.gov. Click Montana Wolves. This 2017 Montana Gray Wolf Program Annual Report is available at: http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/management/wolf/.




Jeff
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Interagency Team Conducting Grizzly Bear Research Trapping

Biologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team will conduct grizzly bear research and trapping operations within Grand Teton National Park from now through the end of July. This research is part of on-going efforts required under the 2016 Conservation Strategy for the Grizzly Bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to monitor the population of grizzly bears.

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.




Jeff
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Seven-day two-park pass (Yellowstone and Grand Teton) to end on May 31st

The combined seven-day entrance pass to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks will end May 31. Starting June 1, a seven-day entrance pass for each park will be:

Private, non-commercial vehicle $35

Motorcycle $30

Individual (by foot, bicycle, etc.) $20

For more information, visit the Fees & Passes webpage.




Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Recreational Trails Grant Awards Open for Public Comment - Comments due Friday, June 8, 2018

Montana State Parks (stateparks.mt.gov) is seeking public comment on proposed Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant awards for the current grant cycle which closed on February 1, 2018. Montana’s Recreational Trails Program has awarded approximately $1.57 million in grant funds to 50 trails projects located across Montana. Public comment on the proposed RTP grant awards is open through Friday, June 8 at 5pm.

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a federally funded program administered by Montana State Parks. RTP projects include development and rehabilitation work on urban, rural, and backcountry trails; planning and construction of community trails; snowmobile and cross-country ski trail maintenance and grooming operations; and a variety of trail stewardship and safety education programs.

For a list of all successful trails grant applicants, visit stateparks.mt.gov/recreation and click on ‘Recreational Trails Program’. For more information or to request copies of individual RTP applications contact Tom Reilly at (406) 444-3752.

Public Comments must be received by 5pm on Friday, June 8, 2018. To comment online visit stateparks.mt.gov and click on “Public Comments” or by email to treilly@mt.gov.

Comments by regular mail should be sent to: Recreational Trails Program, Montana State Parks, PO Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.




Jeff
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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Glacier Travel Information for 2018

The park has begun preparations to open roads and facilities for the summer season. This winter, some areas of the park saw record or near record snowfall amounts. This spring, cool temperatures and continued snow have created challenging conditions as crews plow roads, parking areas, campgrounds, and access utilities to turn them on for the season.

Early Season Tips:

The park expects that some campgrounds or campsites, including some reservation campsites, will not be available by their projected opening dates. Campground staff will contact visitors with campground reservations about moving to alternate spaces if necessary. Early season hikers should consult the park’s trail status page to see trail clearing activity and projected trail clearing start dates.

The spring hiker-biker shuttle will run on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from 9 am to 5 pm beginning May 12, and will continue until the Going-to-the-Sun Road opens through Logan Pass to vehicles. It will also run on May 28, Memorial Day. The shuttle will depart from the Apgar Visitor Center and drop off at both Lake McDonald Lodge and Avalanche Creek (once open to vehicle traffic).

Construction:

Spring and summer construction on the Going-to-the-Sun Road has begun, including work that was previously anticipated for last fall, but was rescheduled due to the Sprague Fire.

In May, crews will be working on paving and road bed work between the West Entrance Station and the area east of the four-way intersection in Apgar known as the Apgar Curve. Traffic will detour through Apgar Village while that work is completed. A pilot car will be used beginning May 14 between the West Entrance Station and the four-way intersection at Apgar.

Crews have also begun work on a section of North McDonald Road between the Going-to-the-Sun Road and the bridge over McDonald Creek, including culvert installation and road bed replacement. While that work is completed, no vehicle or pedestrian access will be permitted during the week. On the weekends, pedestrians should use caution to avoid holes and other hazards marked with cones as they navigate through the construction area. The work is expected to last until mid-May. Trailhead access impacted by this temporary closure includes Trout Lake, McDonald Lakeshore, and McDonald Creek. These trails can be accessed from the Rocky Point Trailhead as an alternate.

At the end of May, North McDonald Road and associated trailhead access will again be closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic for two additional days while paving that section of the road. That work is tentatively planned for the week of May 21, weather permitting. No pedestrian or vehicle access will be available along that road while paving is completed. Windows for local administrative travel will be scheduled.

Many turnouts between Apgar and Avalanche Creek will be unavailable this season while they are rehabilitated. Those turnouts will be marked with traffic cones and drums.

In late summer, crews will work above Triple Arches for approximately one week to install veneer on the removable railing sections that were completed last summer. Traffic delays are anticipated to be minimal for this work.

A maximum thirty minute traffic delay will be in effect for the west side of the park this summer due to scheduled construction between the West Entrance Station and Avalanche Creek.

In September, the park will start on a road repair roughly 1.5 miles west of Avalanche Creek. Once Avalanche Campground is closed for the season, Avalanche Campground Road will close for approximately two weeks beginning September 17 for rehabilitation.

A modification to the St. Mary Kiosk roof will begin this fall. Traffic delays are anticipated to be minimal for this work.

Park Regulations:

In response to congestion and resource impacts, the park has updated several park regulations for the 2018 season.

Visitors will not be permitted to hold campsites for other parties not yet present. People with hammocks should ensure that the webbing they use to attach their hammock to a tree is at least one inch in width to avoid harming tree bark. The area around Big Bend will be closed to off-trail travel to reduce trampling, though climbing access will be available. A 21-foot vehicle limit will be in place on all North Fork roads due to road width and increasing use, in accordance with the North Fork Plan that identified this action should roads become significantly more congested. Llamas are no longer included in the list of permitted pack animals to reduce the spread of domestic diseases to wild bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, moose, elk, and caribou. The full 2018 Superintendent’s Compendium can be found on the park’s website.

Other Visitor Updates:

Construction is complete on the Many Glacier Hotel following more than a decade of rehabilitation to improve critical life-safety elements and restore historic finishes. All rooms and public areas are now available for use.

In 2017, the park welcomed 3.3 million visitors. This is a one million person increase over 2015 visitation levels. This summer, some areas again may temporarily fill, and visitors will be asked to return when congestion clears and parking spaces and roadways become available for use. This year, the park will be using its Twitter page to communicate live congestion updates throughout the season.




Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
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Monday, May 7, 2018

Wild Treasures: A Campaign for Grand Teton’s Wildlife

Grand Teton National Park Foundation recently announced Wild Treasures: A Campaign for Grand Teton’s Wildlife. Funding from this campaign will allow the park to be more strategic than ever before in prioritizing wildlife and natural resource research, conservation, and education efforts. Longer-term certainty of funds has already enabled the development of new partnerships with universities and agencies that will increase capacity, provide additional expertise, and leverage additional funding.

To learn more and support this $2.5 million campaign, visit gtnpf.org/wildtreasures or call 307-732-0629. You can also check out this video:


Wild Treasures: A Campaign for Grand Teton's Wildlife from GTNP Foundation on Vimeo.





Jeff
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Friday, May 4, 2018

Bison injures visitor at Old Faithful

On the afternoon of May 1, 72-year-old Virginia Junk of Boise, Idaho, was butted in the thigh, pushed, and tossed off a trail by a bison in the Old Faithful area. Junk did not see the animal as she walked around a bend in the trail and wasn't able to move away before the animal dropped its head and pushed her off the trail.

Rangers responded to the incident and treated Junk’s minor injuries. She was transported by ambulance to Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho.

No citations were issued.

This is the first incident of a bison injuring a visitor in 2018. There was one incident in 2017 and five in 2015.

Animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk. If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity.




Jeff
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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Much of Waterton Lakes National Park Will Be Closed in 2018

Due to last year's wildfire, much of Waterton Lakes National Park will be closed for the 2018 season.

As a result, many areas affected by the Kenow Wildfire in September 2017 will remain closed due to hazards such as dangerous trees, slope instability and destroyed or damaged infrastructure. The entire Akamina Parkway and the Red Rock Parkway from Bellevue Trail to Red Rock Canyon - along with associated recreation opportunities in these areas - will remain closed in 2018. It is too early to provide a timeline when these areas will re-open.

Several trails will also be closed. Please click here for the entire list.

The townsite, facilities along the Entrance Road, activities on Upper, Middle and Lower Waterton lakes and Chief Mountain Highway are available this year. The Red Rock Parkway is available for non-motorized use (hiking and biking) from the Entrance Road to the Bellevue Trail.

You can find much more information about all the closures here.




Jeff
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Friday, April 27, 2018

Grand Teton National Park Creates Economic Benefits

A new National Park Service report shows that more than 3.3 million recreational visitors to Grand Teton National Park in 2017 spent $590 million in communities near the park. That spending supported almost 8,700 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $744 million.

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela said, “It is a privilege to welcome visitors from around the world to share the spectacular natural and cultural resources of this iconic national park. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it is a big factor in our local economy as well.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.

The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurants sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.

According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm

There are several sites affiliated or managed by the National Park Service in Wyoming, including Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area; Devils Tower National Monument; Fort Laramie National Historic Site; Fossil Butte National Monument; Grand Teton National Park; John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway; and Yellowstone National Park. Visit www.nps.gov/Wyoming to learn more about national parks in Wyoming and how the National Park Service works with local communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation.




Jeff
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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Two-Week Closure Scheduled for Moose-Wilson Road

The northern section of Moose-Wilson Road will be closed for two weeks beginning Monday, April 30th to accommodate road drainage improvements. The road segment between Murie Ranch Road and the Death Canyon Road will be closed to all users, including cyclists, through May 13th.

During the closure, a contractor will replace drainage culverts to prevent future flooding on the road in the area south of Sawmill Ponds. This section of road experienced significant groundwater flooding for much of last summer, and was limited to one-lane of alternating traffic for a few weeks. Crews will also install roadside barriers to minimize future damage to roadside vegetation.

Access to Granite Canyon Trailhead, Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, and Death Canyon Road will be possible from the south during the closure. This access will be via the gravel portion of the Moose-Wilson Road, which typically does not open until mid-May, but will open on April 30 this year due to the closure on the northern section. The schedule is subject to change due to weather conditions and other factors.




Jeff
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Monday, April 23, 2018

Glacier National Park Changes Entrance Fees

Glacier National Park will modify its entrance fees beginning June 1, 2018 to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs that enhance the visitor experience. Effective June 1, the park entrance fee will be $35 per vehicle or $30 per motorcycle. An annual park pass will cost $70.

The NPS last October proposed a plan to adopt seasonal pricing at Glacier National Park and 16 other national parks to raise additional revenue for infrastructure and maintenance needs. The fee structure announced today addresses many concerns and ideas provided by the public on how best to address fee revenue for parks.

Revenue from entrance fees remains in the National Park Service and helps ensure a quality experience for all who visit. In Glacier National Park, 80 percent of entrance fees stay in the park and are devoted to spending that supports the visitor. The park shares the other 20 percent of entry fee income with other national parks for their projects.

“The fees our visitors pay are essential to tackle deferred maintenance projects like trail and campground work, as well as other visitor services like ranger programs and our park maps and brochures,” said Park Superintendent Jeff Mow.

The additional revenue from entrance fees at Glacier National Park will improve trails such as those around Granite Park and Running Eagle Falls, improve restroom access including accessible restrooms and winter restrooms, and expand the park’s volunteer program.

National parks have experienced record breaking visitation, with more than 1.5 billion visitors in the last five years. Throughout the country, the combination of aging infrastructure and increased visitation affects park roads, bridges, buildings, campgrounds, water systems, bathrooms, and other facilities. Maintenance deferred on these facilities amounts to an $11.6 billion nationwide backlog.

Entrance fees collected by the National Park Service totaled $199.9 million in Fiscal Year 2016. The NPS estimates that once fully implemented, the new fee structure will increase annual entrance fee revenue by about $60 million.

Glacier National Park has had an entrance fee since 1914. The current rate of $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle has been in effect since 2016. The park is one of 117 in the National Park System that charges an entrance fee. The remaining 300 sites are free to enter.

The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and Lifetime Senior Pass will remain $80.

The National Park Service has a standardized entrance fee structure, composed of four groups based on park size and type. Glacier National Park is one of the park sites in group 4.




Jeff
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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Montana State Trails Advisory Committee to Meet in Helena - April 25 & 26

Montana State Parks (stateparks.mt.gov) announced this past Wednesday that the citizen Montana State Trails Advisory committee (STAC) will meet on Wednesday, April 25 from 9 am to 5 pm and Thursday, April 26 from 8 am to 4 pm at the Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks Commission Rooms located at 1420 E. 6th Avenue, in Helena.

The committee will advise staff on a number of trail issues, including 2018 Recreational Trails Program project proposals 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 Samantha Erpenbach at (406) 444-5898 or samantha.erpenbach@mt.gov.

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.




Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sperry Chalet Next 100 Years Environmental Assessment Available for Public Comment

Glacier National Park’s Sperry Chalet, The Next Hundred Years environmental assessment (EA) and associated documents are available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/SperryChalet2018. The EA will be available for public review for 20 days; comments are due on May 7, 2018.

A public meeting to provide comment on the environmental assessment and ask questions about the project will be held on Monday, April 23 from 5:30 pm-7:30 pm at Flathead Valley Community College in the Arts and Technology Building, Room 139 in Kalispell, MT.

The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing to rebuild the Sperry Chalet Dormitory Building that was badly burned in the Sprague Fire in 2017. Specifically, the NPS is proposing to rebuild the Sperry Chalet Dormitory at its original site within the original walls. The design would restore the chalet dormitory reflecting its period of significance (1914-1949). Some critical updates would be included including current building codes where applicable, and improvements to life safety features including seismic bracing and fire resistant materials. The visitor experience would be very similar to what it has been for decades by using as much of the remaining historic fabric, and replicating historic finishes where practicable. Construction would be completed in two phases, proposed for the summers of 2018 and 2019. Cost considerations and other unforeseen events or conditions could affect the construction schedule.

Public scoping was conducted from February 28, 2018 to April 2, 2018 to provide for early public participation, assist with identifying important features of the Sperry Chalet experience, and identify resource issues and concerns. The park received 403 comments; suggestions and concerns raised during scoping were considered in the EA.

Comments can be submitted online at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/SperryChalet2018, or sent by mail to Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: Sperry Chalet, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, Montana 59936. The EA may also be requested by calling 406-888-7898.




Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com