Friday, August 31, 2012

NPS To Maintain One-Year Rule For 2012-2013 Winter Use At Yellowstone National Park

For the upcoming 2012-2013 winter season at Yellowstone National Park, the National Park Service is proposing to extend the existing "one-year rule" regarding the management of snowmobiles and snowcoach activity in the park.

This proposal would implement the same conditions during the 2012-2013 winter season that have been in place for the past three winters. This plan allows for up to 318 commercially guided Best Available Technology snowmobiles and up to 78 commercially guided snowcoaches daily. It will also continue to provide access for motorized oversnow travel over the East Entrance road and Sylvan Pass.

Concurrently, the National Park Service will reopen the public comment period for 30 days on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for long-term plan for winter use in Yellowstone National Park. The second public comment period will allow additional opportunity for the Park to address public and cooperating agency comments on the draft SEIS.

"As we look to the 2012-2013 winter season, we want to provide a safe and positive experience for our visitors," said Superintendent Dan Wenk. "Today's approach ensures that there will not be interruptions to access this winter, and also responds to public requests for additional review and comment on the long-term plan."

After considering a 30-day public comment period on extending the one-year rule for the 2012-2013 winter season, the National Park Service intends to amend the record of decision for the 2011 Environmental Impact Statement and to issue an rule authorizing oversnow vehicles use during the 2012-2013 winter season. This schedule has been adopted to ensure that the 2012-2013 winter season will not be interrupted during further scientific analysis and review of public comments on the long-term plan for oversnow vehicles in the park.

Glacier National Park Trails

Norris to Canyon Road Closed Due To Increased Fire Activity

Update: road is now open


The Norris to Canyon section of roadway in Yellowstone National Park is temporarily closed due to increased activity on the Cygnet Fire. This closure is necessary due to low visibility from smoke and to allow firefighters to work safely along the roadway.

With this road closure in effect, there are still alternate routes to any facility or entrance in the park and visitors should be able to get to their destination with little inconvenience.

The Cygnet Fire is a lightning-caused fire 5 miles southwest of Canyon Village and was approximately 1700 acres early Thursday afternoon. The fire was discovered on August 10.

The road will reopen as soon as possible.

Updated road information can be obtained 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.

Glacier National Park Trails

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Visitors Urged to Enjoy Yellowstone Wildlife at a Safe Distance

One sure sign that fall is just around the corner is that some animals are beginning to leave the high country for lower elevations.

The most obvious change in Yellowstone occurs in Mammoth Hot Springs. Typically, several large bull elk venture into the Mammoth area in the fall to compete for the attention of cow elk. Bulls are much more aggressive toward both people and vehicles this time of year and can be a threat to both people and property. Several vehicles are damaged by elk every year, and on occasion people are charged by elk and are injured.

A dedicated group of park staff and volunteers can be seen patrolling the Mammoth Hot Springs area when elk are present, attempting to keep elk and visitors a safe distance away from each other. Park regulations require visitors to stay a minimum of 25 yards - the length of two regular school buses - away from most large animals.

Grizzly bears and black bears are moving to higher elevations to feed on this year's abundant crop of whitebark pine seeds, in order to store the calories they need to sustain themselves during winter hibernation. They may be encountered along roads through mountain passes or on some hiking trails.

Park regulations require people to stay a minimum of 100 yards - the length of a football field - away from bears and wolves at all times. If you see a bear along the road, move off the road and park on the shoulder or in a pullout and stay in your vehicle to watch the bear. In any case, use your binoculars, telescope, or telephoto lens to get a closer look at the bear rather than walking toward the bear.

Visitors are reminded to keep food, garbage, barbecue grills and other attractants stored in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes when not in immediate use. Bears that get human food or garbage usually become aggressive in their efforts to get it again. This can result in property damage and on rare occasion injury to people. When bears become a threat to human safety, they may have to be captured and euthanized.

Fall also brings changing weather conditions. Along with some temporary closures due to fire activity, visitors are encouraged to stop at a visitor center or ranger station for the latest update on trail conditions and park regulations before setting out on the trail. A reminder, a permit is required to stay overnight in the backcountry.

Hikers and backpackers are encouraged to travel in groups of three or more, make noise on the trail, and keep an eye out for bears. Bear pepper spray has proven to be a good last line of defense if you keep it handy and use it according to directions when the bear is within 50 feet. Be extra vigilant if a sign on the trail says a bear has been frequenting an area, and if an area is posted closed due to bear activity, stay out!

Bear sightings should be reported to the nearest visitor center or ranger station as soon as possible.

Glacier National Park Trails

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Free shuttle transportation on the Going-to-the-Sun Road ends September 3rd

Sadly, all good things must come to an end at some point, and that includes the seasons. With the end of summer just on the horizon, Glacier National Park will begin implementing their fall schedule after the Labor Day weekend.

The first change visitors will notice will be the free shuttle transportation service along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The last day to utilize the shuttle service during the 2012 season will be Labor Day on September 3rd.

For a full list of all changes to park schedules this fall, please click here.

Glacier National Park Trails

Logan Pass from west side to close September 16th

Glacier Park officials posted some information on their Facebook page that will be of interest for those planning a visit in a couple of weeks.

To accommodate road rehabilitation work between Avalanche Creek and Logan Pass, September 16th will be the last day you can drive to Logan Pass on the west side of the park from West Glacier. Logan Pass will still be accessible by vehicle from the east side of the park in St. Mary until October 14th, weather permitting.

As soon as officials know more about hiker/biker access on the road during that time, information will be posted. You can view the Going-to-the-Sun Road frequently asked questions page here:

Glacier National Park Trails

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Win a Fall Getaway near Glacier National Park

Glacier Country Montana is giving away Fall Getaway near Glacier National Park. All you need to do is leave a comment on their website telling them what you most look forward to each fall. The winner will receive a two-night fall cabin stay at the Great Northern Resort on the outskirts of Glacier National Park (valid now through October 15, 2012 or next year, from September 15 – October 15, 2013).

Comments will close on Thursday, September 6th at 10 PM, Mountain Standard Time. To enter, please click here.

Hiking Glacier National Park

Join GNP Geographer at Brown-Bag Lecture

The Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at Glacier National Park is hosting a brown-bag lecture on Wednesday, September 5th, from 12-1 p.m. at the Community Building in West Glacier. The public is invited to join Richard Menicke, Geographer and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Coordinator at Glacier National Park, who will present his lecture, "Petra Archaeological Park & Protected Areas in Jordan: A Travelogue."

Menicke has worked at Glacier National Park for over 15 years, applying the park's GIS and other natural resource information technologies to a broad range of park management, research, and educational needs. He recently worked in Jordan through the Department of Interior International Technical Assistance Program at Petra Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, training staff in implementation of GIS tools and consulting on the development of a sustainable GIS program.

Protected areas management in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is administratively diverse and complicated. Menicke will speak of his experience in Petra Archaeological Park, both professionally and as a traveler, sharing pictures and management concepts from other protected areas in Jordan.

This brown-bag lecture and other lectures throughout the year are hosted by Glacier National Park's Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center. For more information about the center please call, 406-888-7863 or visit

Glacier National Park Trails

Monday, August 27, 2012

Scoping Period Initiated for Jenny Lake Renewal Project

Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced last week that Grand Teton National Park is developing a long-range plan for the renewal of trails and other facilities in the Jenny Lake area-one of the most popular day-use areas of the park. Situated at the base of the Teton Range, the historic Jenny Lake area provides both visitor information and services and access to several trails. These trails provide opportunities for hiking along the valley floor as well as more strenuous treks into the park's backcountry.

Over 1.5 million visitors annually use the Jenny Lake trails and associated facilities. Due to this intensive visitor use over many decades, the area has deteriorated over time. Examples of the decline include poor drainage and steep pitches on portions of the trails (some of which were built in the 1930s), trail erosion, over-crowding on trails and viewing areas, trampled vegetation and bare ground, challenging route finding, and limited interpretation of the rich natural and cultural history.

Four areas will be considered in the planning process. These include South Jenny Lake, Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, the String Lake outlet, and the Jenny Lake overlook. Project priorities are to: retain the historic character of the area; improve route finding; expand interpretation of Jenny Lake's history, natural resources, and wilderness values; preserve and enhance the natural resources; and improve the overall visitor experience.

This scoping seeks public suggestions, comments, and concerns in the development of a master plan for the Jenny Lake area. An environmental assessment (EA) will be developed to analyze potential impacts of the project to a number of resources including geology, soils, vegetation, wildlife, cultural resources, water resources, wilderness character, and visitor use and experience. Additional public comments will be considered during preparation of the EA.

The National Park Service requests public comments on issues, alternatives, concerns and other considerations regarding this proposal. Interested individuals, organizations or agencies are invited to provide relevant information or suggestions for consideration by park managers before a draft EA is written and made available for public review this winter. Scoping comments will be accepted through September 15, 2012.

The upcoming Jenny Lake Renewal EA will address all of the proposed management actions, along with their potential impacts. Obtain more information, including maps of the area, and submit comments online at or by mail to:

Grand Teton National Park
P.O. Drawer 170
Moose, WY, 83012
c/o Margaret Wilson

Glacier National Park Trails

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Moose-Wilson Road in Tetons to Close on August 29 for Dust Treatment

A brief travel closure will be in effect on the unpaved section of the Moose-Wilson Road in Grand Teton National Park for about 28 hours, beginning at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, August 29th. The road is scheduled to reopen by 8 a.m. on Thursday, August 30, barring equipment malfunction or rainy weather. The closure is scheduled to accommodate dust abatement work, the third application this summer.

Road crews will complete this project in the shortest time possible. Local residents and park visitors are advised to plan ahead and use an alternate route because this temporary closure prevents the ability to make a 'through trip' on the Moose-Wilson Road.

For those wishing to reach the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve or Death Canyon trailhead, access will be possible by driving south from the Teton Park Road junction adjacent to the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming.

To alert travelers of the expected daytime road closure, electronic signs will be placed on Wyoming Highway 390, beginning Tuesday, August 28. For motorists heading south to Teton Village from Moose, signs will also be placed at the junction of the Teton Park Road.

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. Therefore, motorists who drive this portion of the Moose-Wilson Road after it reopens on Thursday may want to rinse off their vehicles to eliminate any residue.

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

Glacier National Park Trails

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Glacier National Park

Below is a pretty awesome video showing Glacier National Park in all its grandeur and glory. This is Part 1 of a 20 minute film that was nominated for best new nature documentary in the music category. It also received an award for photography from the Wildlife Film Festival held in May of 2008. All funds from this project are being donated to the Glacier National Park Fund. Enjoy:

Glacier National Park Trails

Friday, August 24, 2012

Park Staff Pulls Together To Remove Invasives

Yellowstone National Park held its fifth annual “Weed Pull” in Mammoth Hot Springs on August 2nd.

More than 65 participants showed up for the event, with staff representation from maintenance, the park’s fire module, technology services, the Yellowstone Center for Resources, the division of resource education and youth programs (interpretation), and park volunteers.

No experience with plant identification was necessary – just a cold-blooded desire to kill nonnative plant species. Jennifer Whipple, the park botanist, rallied the troops to action with a short talk about the ecological havoc wreaked by nonnative species. She also gave identification tips for distinguishing look-alike native species from nonnative species so that no plants would die in vain.

With nearly 1300 vascular plant species found in Yellowstone, 218 nonnative species have been documented in the park. Yellowstone National Park treats approximately 40 species of nonnative plants a year. The enemy – targeted nonnative plants – were spotted knapweed, woolly mullein, hound’s-tongue, and bull thistle. Altogether, participants pulled 145 bags of nonnative plant species.

The event targeted areas such as the Mammoth Terraces, where manual or mechanical removal of plants works better than herbicides due to the concern for the thermal area. Pulling weeds in this highly photographed and visited thermal area provided an opportunity to interface with the public and educate them about the native flora and how nonnative species impact them.

The terraces have been highly impacted by weeds due to the harsh thermal environment, lots of ground that was in all probability free of vegetation historically (now often inhabited by nonnative species), and some of the earliest disturbance from human visitation. Other areas included a popular hiking trail near the Mammoth Terraces and a lake south of Mammoth Hot Springs.

The event has garnered growing support since it began, as demonstrated by the record high participation this year.

Glacier National Park Trails

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gunsight Pass Trail is Now Open

Great news, the Gunsight Pass Trail is now completely open! Here's the latest from the Trail Status Update on the park website, dated August 20th:

Trail is free of snow and downed trees except for a 40 foot patch of snow that is easy to cross.

This means hikers can make the epic 18.8-mile trek from Lake McDonald, up to Sperry Chalet, over Gunsight Pass and back down to the trailhead at the Jackson Glacier Overlook.

Hiker may want to note this warning from the latest Sperry Chalet blog posting dated August 8th:

Be prepared for the water crossings as well. There is a knee deep stream crossing at Gunsight Lake that is pretty cold, and there is an ankle deep and slippery waterfall at the head of Lake Ellen Wilson. Be safe out there!

For more information on the hike up to Gunsight Lake, including navigation through a fairly large section of downed trees from a massive avalanche last year, please click here.

Glacier National Park Trails

National Trails Fund Grant Recipients Announced for 2012

The American Hiking Society recently announced the recipients of National Trails Fund grants in 2012. Thanks to the generous support of Charter Sponsors, L.L.Bean and Cascade Designs (Therm-a-Rest and MSR), the National Trails Fund (NTF) awarded a total of $26,000 in grants this year. A cumulative total of $540,500 has been awarded to trail clubs over the life of the program, since its inception in 1998.

American Hiking Society received 104 applications from organizations in 36 states, seeking funding from the NTF in 2012. Of these, eleven outstanding projects were chosen.

The following organizations have been awarded grants ranging between $500 and $5,000 to support trail projects:

• Appalachian Mountain Club, NH
• Butler Outdoor Club, PA
• Colorado Mountain Club, CO
• Florida Trail Association, FL
• Friends of Lake Barkley, KY
• Newton Marasco Foundation, VA
• Pine Mountain Trail Conference, KY
• Starflower Experiences, NY
• Trails4All, CA
• Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park, NY
• Wilderness International, ID

The funds will allow recipients to create, expand and renovate hiking trails throughout the country. This year, several grant winners will be using their funds to implement better erosion controls on their favorite trails. Depending on the project, this will involve the installation of water bars and fortified embankments. Proper drainage systems ensure the long-term sustainability of trails, circumventing damage done by severe weather.

Winners are also using their funds to improve hiking experiences by removing graffiti and installing new, updated signage. The Butler Outdoor Club and Colorado Mountain Club will be improving signage at each of their respective trails. Directional signage enables hikers to feel safe, as well as preserving sensitive natural spaces by keeping hikers on the trail. A few of the winners are also improving accessibility by constructing new trails, connecting existing trails and providing new walkways.

“L.L.Bean recognizes the important role that outdoor recreationalists have in being good stewards of the resource. We applaud American Hiking Society's efforts to establish, protect, and maintain America's foot trails. We are proud to sponsor the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Fund to support the critical role the volunteer stewards play at the local level,” stated Janet Wyper, L.L.Bean’s Manager of Community Relations.

Even as great work is accomplished for America’s trails this year by these grant recipients, there will always be more work to be done to protect our trails. Applications will be accepted beginning in early November 2012 for the 2013 NTF grants.

To learn more about American Hiking Society and its mission and programs, visit or call (301) 565-6704.

Glacier National Park Trails

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Proposal to Conduct Lake Trout Removal on Logging Lake and Continue Lake Trout Suppression on Quartz Lake

Glacier National Park officials announced today the beginning of public scoping for a proposal to conduct lake trout removal on Logging Lake and continue lake trout suppression on Quartz Lake (both in northwestern part of the park). Public scoping is the first step involving the public in the environmental assessment process.

Glacier National Park contains approximately one-third of the bull trout populations inhabiting natural (un-dammed) lakes in the United States. Bull trout are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and, in many areas, are increasingly at risk from invasive non-native species, including lake trout. On the west side of Glacier National Park, lake trout have already invaded nine of the twelve lakes they are able to access and have replaced bull trout as the top level aquatic predator in the majority of lakes that have been monitored. To protect bull trout and other native fish species, non-native fish suppression and removal efforts are occurring across the intermountain west, including within the transboundary Crown of the Continent.

In 2005, lake trout were detected in Quartz Lake, an important stronghold for bull trout and other native fish. In 2009, Glacier National Park and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began an experimental project to reduce or eliminate lake trout from Quartz Lake. Results from the project are promising, and the effort is anticipated to eventually reduce the size of the lake trout population in Quartz Lake.

Logging Lake is also a high priority for bull trout conservation, and was once considered the most productive bull trout fishery in the park. But due to invasive non-native lake trout, Logging Lake could lose bull trout as a functional part of the aquatic ecosystem if action is not taken to reduce the size of the lake trout population. Therefore, the park is proposing to conduct lake trout removal in Logging Lake using methods developed on Quartz Lake. Techniques would be refined and could be used in other locations within and outside the park. Also, as a conservation measure to protect Logging Lake's few remaining bull trout, bull trout would be translocated within the Logging drainage and bull trout and/or eggs would be collected from the lake and raised in a conservation rearing facility for release back into the lake to boost the population. Additionally, the park is proposing to continue the lake trout removal effort in Quartz Lake, which is currently approved through 2012. Continuing the project is necessary to keep lake trout numbers low and to remove juvenile lake trout that have not yet grown large enough to be caught by the sampling gear. Under continuation of the program, removal efforts on Quartz Lake would occur every year with periodic re-evaluation.

Four alternatives have been identified to date:

Alternative A - conduct experimental lake trout removal and restore a viable bull trout population at Logging Lake using multiple approaches, such as translocating bull trout and releasing conservation facility-reared bull trout within the drainage

Alternative B - continue lake trout suppression on Quartz Lake

Alternative C - both Alternatives A and B

Alternative D - (no action) do not conduct lake trout removal or bull trout conservation on Logging Lake and do not continue lake trout suppression on Quartz Lake.

The public scoping brochure contains additional information about this project and is available here. Comments can be posted to this website or mailed to Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: Logging/Quartz EA, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT, 59936. Comments are due September 10, 2012.

Glacier National Park Trails

New Design, Expanded Content for Recreation.Gov

A new website design was announced earlier this week that will improve navigation tools and provide expanded content for Recreation.Gov, the interagency website that guides visitors to 90,000 sites on federal lands such as national parks, wildlife refuges, waterways, forests and recreation areas.

The redesign of is an initial step in a multi-year strategy to engage visitors with enhanced interactive content and more multimedia, mobile, trip-planning tools. The seven million visitors who use the website every year will be able to make reservations, see ready-made itineraries for destination cities, and search for activities on an interactive map.

“ is a perfect example of interagency cooperation to leverage resources and provide recreational opportunities for all Americans, as well as international visitors to American public lands and waters,” Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Outdoor activities contribute an estimated $646 billion to the U.S. economy, according to independent estimates, and this enhanced website will provide a gateway for Americans to enjoy their great outdoors.”

Highlights of the updated site include:

Explore Trip Ideas: now features Explore Trip Ideas with interactive maps to help visitors discover points-of-interest on public lands when planning trips to popular destination cities like Atlanta, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and more.

Go Lists: Created to encourage more people to get active outdoors, Go Lists provide highlights of places to go, events, and activities at federal sites across the country with topics including “Day Hikes for Weekend Warriors” and “Civil War 150th Anniversary: Places and Events that Shaped Our Nation.”

Discover Great American Adventures: More in-depth articles and destination spotlights can be found in Discover Great American Adventures which feature a wide variety of experiences and adventures found only in America.

The website update is a joint initiative between federal agency partners – including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In 2012 the Departments of Commerce and the Interior have outlined a long term strategy for increasing both domestic and international tourism to the United States. The strategy provides a blueprint for the federal government to reach a goal of attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021. International spending on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services set an all-time record of $153 billion in 2011, an 8.1 percent increase from 2010, and supported an additional 103,000 jobs for a total of 7.6 million industry jobs.

Glacier National Park Trails

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Public Invited to View Film About Dark Skies

The Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at Glacier National Park is hosting a free brown-bag seminar on Thursday, August 23 from 12- 1:30 p.m. at the Community Building in West Glacier. The public is invited to view "The City Dark," an 84-minute documentary film chronicling the disappearance of dark skies. Join David Ingram, Chapter Leader for Dark Skies Northwest, representing the International Dark-Sky Association for an introduction to the film and information about light pollution.

Since its premiere in March 2011, "The City Dark" has been shown at 40 film festivals, winning 9, and seen in over 200 community gatherings. The film blends a humorous, searching tone with poetic footage of the night sky, and is an introduction to the science of dark. The documentary film is also shown every Tuesday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the St. Mary Visitor Center.

This film screening is part of Glacier National Park's summer astronomy program efforts, providing interpretive night sky and solar activity viewing opportunities for the public. Throughout the park dedicated volunteer astronomers provide laser-guided constellation tours and telescope viewing of deep space objects like galaxies, star clusters, planets, and nebulae. The park's astronomy program is supported by The Glacier National Park Fund and Glacier Association.

Glacier National Park is home to some of the darkest skies in the world, providing ideal conditions for viewing opportunities while maintaining critical wildlife and plant habitat for species affected by artificial light. A joint effort between Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and Glacier National Park is being initiated for designation of both parks as an International Dark Sky Park/Preserve so all may experience this vanishing resource.

For more information about the film presentation, or the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center, please click or call 406-888-5827. For information on the International Dark-Sky Association click here, and for information about the park's astronomy program and the ranger-led activities schedule, contact the park at 406-888-7800 or click here.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Monday, August 20, 2012

Siyeh Bend: Point of Interest on the Going-to-the-Sun Road

Located on a prominent bend on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the Siyeh Bend shuttle stop marks the transition point between the higher elevation sub-albine vegetation and the forest of the East Side. Two popular day hikes depart from this location, Piegan Pass and Siyeh Pass (two of my favorite hikes in the park). Check out this short video from Glacier National Park to learn more about this special area:

Glacier National Park Hiking

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Outdoor Survival - Shelter

In this episode of the Colorado Parks & Wildlife outdoor survival video series, outdoor expert Peter Kummerfeldt discusses the use of shelters in a survival situation. He has some fairly surprising recommendations on what you should bring into the wilderness:

Hiking in

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lolo National Forest Purchases Land in Deer Creek and Petty Creek

The Lolo National Forest recently purchased 2,189 acres from The Nature Conservancy with funds from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. The land, now part of the Missoula Ranger District, includes 1,709 acres in Deer Creek and 480 acres in Petty Creek.

The Nature Conservancy purchased the land from Plum Creek Timber Company in 2008 as part of its Montana Legacy Project.

In 2010, the Lolo National Forest acquired 57,450 acres of Legacy land from the Conservancy on the Missoula Ranger District – including parcels in the Deer Creek drainage adjacent to this latest acquisition and more than 31,000 acres in Lolo Creek.

Deer Creek is a valuable spawning and rearing tributary for westslope cutthroat trout supporting a large, genetically-pure population of this native fish. Westslope cutthroat trout are classified as a “species of concern” in Montana due to their decreasing numbers and distribution.

The Deer Creek area is just north of Pattee Creek Recreation area and is popular with hikers, bikers, runners, etc. and provides many miles of connected trails and scenic overviews.

The area has had a long history of illegal dumping and unregulated off-road use. Prior to sale of the land, the Conservancy did extensive cleanup, which the USFS has continued with the assistance of a Missoula County RAC grant. The agency has also stepped up regulation of previously unmanaged and destructive off-road use.

The $1,992,660 purchase was made available through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund established by Congress in 1964.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Myth Busted: Women aren't more prone to bear attacks due to menstruation odors

Ever since the night of August 13, 1967, when two women were attacked and killed by grizzly bears in two separate incidents in Glacier National Park (which was later chronicled in Night of the Grizzlies), a myth has persisted that women may be more prone to bear attacks as a result of odors associated with menstruation.

However, according to a paper recently published by the National Park Service, "there is no statistical evidence that known bear attacks have been related to menstruation".

The report pointed towards evidence from previous studies:

* Stephen Herrero (1985) analyzed the circumstances of hundreds of grizzly bear attacks on humans, including the attacks on the two women in Glacier, and concluded that there was no evidence linking menstruation to any of the attacks. The responses of grizzly bears to menstrual odors has not been studied experimentally.

* Lynn Rogers et al. (1991) recorded the responses of 26 free-ranging black bears (Ursus americanus) to used tampons from 26 women and the responses of 20 free ranging black bears to four menstruating women at different days of their flow. Menstrual odors were essentially ignored by black bears of all sex and age classes. In an extensive review of black bear attacks across North America, no instances of black bears attacking or being attracted to menstruating women was found (Cramond 1981, Herrero 1985, Rogers et al. 1991).

The paper also mentions that between 1980 and 2011, 43 people have been injured by bears in Yellowstone National Park. 79% of those attacks occurred on men. Of the 9 incidents involving women, 6 were surprise encounters with bears while the women were hiking, and were therefore probably unrelated to menstruation.

The paper also notes that your risk of bear attack is highest while hiking in the backcountry. You can reduce the risks by:

1) hiking in groups of 3 or more people
2) staying alert
3) making noise in areas of poor visibility
4) carrying bear spray
5) not running during encounters with bears

To read the full report, please click here.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Annual Logan Pass Star Party Tomorrow Night

I just saw this blurb on the Glacier Facebook Page:

The Annual Logan Pass Star Party will be held on Friday, August 17 from 9-12 pm. Free tickets are available at the St. Mary and Apgar Visitor Centers. There are a limited number of tickets as parking spaces at Logan Pass are also limited. There will be a new moon so skies will be very dark and the viewing should be great!

Glacier National Park Hiking

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Best Waterfall Hikes in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park has more than 200 waterfalls scattered throughout the park. So, with only a limited amount of vacation time, which falls should you visit on a day hike? Below are my top waterfall hikes that will hopefully lend some guidance.

Virginia Falls – Dropping more than 50 feet off a sheer cliff face, Virginia Falls just might be one of the most beautiful falls I’ve ever seen. Additionally, waterfall aficionados will get a chance to see St. Mary Falls, and two other very impressive, but unnamed falls along the way as well.

St. Mary Falls – If you’re looking for a very short hike to see an awesome waterfall, this should fit the bill.

Redrock Falls – An outstanding choice for an easy hike. In addition to a very impressive series of cascades and falls, you’ll also visit two picturesque sub-alpine lakes, and maybe even have a chance to see a moose along the way.

Running Eagle Falls – “Trick Falls” is a must see in the Two Medicine Area. It’s a very easy, handicap accessible trail.

Florence Falls – I would have to rank this as the second most impressive waterfall that can be reached on a day hike in Glacier. The reason it ranks 5th on this list is a result of the distance you have to walk to reach the falls. Additionally, the trail stays within the confines of the forest for most of its length. Having said that though, there is a point on the trail, at Mirror Pond, that just might be one of the most scenic spots in the entire park.

Johns Lake Loop – An easy loop hike off the Going-to-the-Sun Road that visits Sacred Dancing Cascade and McDonald Falls.

Apikuni Falls – Beautiful falls in a small box canyon.

Rockwell Falls – The trail travels through several open meadows in the Two Medicine valley. You’ll also have a good chance of seeing a moose along the way.

Baring Falls – Very easy hike off the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the eastern side of the park.

Ptarmigan Falls – This is one of the more impressive falls in the park. However, steep terrain around the falls makes it virtually impossible to get a close-up view. Moreover, trees block a full view of the falls from top to bottom. This waterfall, however, makes my top 10 list because the hike offers outstanding views of the Many Glacier Valley for most of its length.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Glacier National Park Hosts Brown-Bag Seminar Next Week

The Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at Glacier National Park is hosting a free brown-bag lecture on Tuesday, August 21 from 12- 1pm at the Community Building in West Glacier. The public is invited to join Dr. Kerry Foresman who will discuss rare species in Glacier National Park such as the porcupine, least weasel, and fisher.

Dr. Foresman's career started over 40 years ago, studying pikas near Logan Pass. During this lecture he will cover species that have been extirpated and others that may occur in the park but have not yet been found. He is the author of newly published book, Mammals of Montana.

For more information about the presentation, or the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center, please visit

Glacier National Park Hiking

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ailing Climber Rescued from Teewinot Mountain

Just before 9 p.m. on Saturday, August 11, Grand Teton National Park rangers rescued a climber from Teewinot Mountain (elevation 12,325 feet) who was exhibiting acute physical distress. A 53-year-old climber, and resident of Rock Island, Illinois, became ill and incapable of completing a descent from Teewinot after he and two male companions successfully summited the Teton peak early Saturday afternoon.

The climbing party summited Teewinot Mountain about 2:15 p.m. on Saturday. They were making their way back down the mountain and had reached an elevation of about 9,700 feet near two features called the Worshipper and Idol when one of the members of the party began to exhibit a debilitating ailment. The climbers placed an emergency call for help around 6:20 p.m. That call was routed from the Teton County Sheriff's Office to Teton Interagency Dispatch Center, and park rangers were notified of the situation at 6:24 p.m.

Through cell phone conversations with the mountaineers, rangers determined that the ailing climber's condition may be serious. They summoned the assistance of a Teton Interagency contract helicopter to conduct an expedient rescue via short-haul before the 'pumpkin hour' and darkness set in. Although helicopters are often used to facilitate rescues in the Tetons, they are required to stop flying 30 minutes after official sunset: a time known as pumpkin hour. On Saturday, August 11, sunset was 8:31 p.m. and pumpkin hour was at 9:03 p.m. The helicopter was able to shut down operations at the Jackson Hole Airport Helibase at 8:57 p.m., within six minutes of the mandatory time.

Two rangers were inserted via short-haul to the climber's location on Teewinot. The Illinois climber was quickly assessed for his physical complaints, placed into an aerial evacuation suit, and connected to the short-haul line for transport from Teewinot. One ranger accompanied the climber during the short flight to the Jenny Lake Rescue Cache at Lupine Meadows (elevation 6,760 feet). The climber was then met by emergency medical technicians and a park ambulance and transported to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming for further treatment. Once the ailing climber was evacuated by helicopter, the second ranger escorted his two companions out of the backcountry and back to their vehicle.

Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual is suspended below the helicopter on a 100 to 200 foot rope. This method allows a rescuer more direct access to an injured or ailing 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. Patients are typically flown out via short-haul with a ranger attending to them below the helicopter, as was the case for this rescue.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Amazing Bird's-eye View Photos of Glacier Park

Last week a friend of sent me several amazing photos that were taken during a couple of helicopter tours over Glacier National Park recently. Although the photos were taken from a phone camera, they're still absolutely stunning:

Here's Iceberg Lake:

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

The last two photos are of Grinnell Glacier:

Thanks to Jarica for sharing these with all of us!

Glacier National Park Hiking

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Yellowstone Releases Summer Bison Population Estimate

Yellowstone National Park has completed its annual summer bison population abundance monitoring.

Three airplane surveys were conducted with a high count of the population at 4,230 bison. There are approximately 2,600 bison in the Northern herd and 1,600 in the Central herd this summer. There were about 600 calves-of-the-year observed in a June aerial survey.

This year's observations represent an increase of nearly 14% over last year's count. The peak population estimate of 5,000 bison was recorded in the summer 2005.

The observed rate of population change this past year is within the natural range of expectation for wild bison.

This population estimate is used to inform adaptive management strategies under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP). The IBMP is a cooperative plan designed to conserve a viable, wild bison population while minimizing the risk of brucellosis transmission between bison and cattle.

The cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the InterTribal Buffalo Council, the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes, and the Nez Perce Tribe. More information on the IBMP can be found here.

Hiking Glacier National Park

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Segment of Inside North Fork Road Anticipated to Open This Weekend

Approximately six miles of the Inside North Fork Road between Fish Creek Campground and Camas Creek Bridge is anticipated to open this weekend. Glacier National Park road crews are currently completing temporary repairs, including grading of the area and laying surface gravel to improve road conditions after continuous flooding. The section of the road between Polebridge and Logging Creek opened in May of this year to vehicle travel.

The road will remain closed between Camas Creek Bridge and Logging Creek due to flooding and road washout. Road crews will focus work near the Anaconda Creek and Logging Creek areas over the next few weeks. The entire length of the Inside North Fork Road may open later this season, dependent upon scope of damage found and resources needed to ensure vehicle travel can occur safely.

The Inside North Fork Road is a 28-mile narrow, gravel road between the Fish Creek Campground and Polebridge. Use of recreational, towed, and low-clearance vehicles is strongly discouraged on the road.

For more information on the current status of roads within the park, click here or call 406-888-7800.

Hiking Glacier National Park

Apgar Transit Center Parking Lot to Expand

Glacier National Park announced yesterday the completion of the environmental analysis and review process for the Apgar Transit Center Parking Lot Expansion. The Finding of No Significant Impact, or FONSI (the decision document), was signed by the NPS Intermountain Regional Director on July 13, 2012. The National Park Service 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 2012.

The park will expand the Apgar Transit Center parking lot to accommodate increased visitor use of the facility following the relocation of visitor center operations. The parking lot will be extended approximately 90 feet (27 meters) to the north and 90 feet (27 meters) to the east. The expanded parking lot will provide approximately 190-195 spaces for passenger vehicles, including 9 accessible spaces, and 21 RV or oversized vehicle spaces. The project is anticipated to occur during fall and the following spring, and is estimated to take approximately 8 weeks in total to complete.

Twelve comment letters were received during the EA review period; none were opposed to the project and eight expressed support. Additionally, because the Apgar area is traditionally significant to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the park met with a representative from the Tribal Historic Preservation Department to discuss the project and has committed to exploring future interpretive opportunities with the tribe.

Constructed in 2007 as part of the Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation (GTSR) Project, the Apgar Transit Center is a staging area for the transit system and facilitates visitor access and orientation along the GTSR during road rehabilitation. During the busy summer season, thousands of visitors may use the facility, and the parking lot is often full in July and August. In the near future, the park intends to move visitor center operations from the existing visitor contact station - a small, converted house in the center of Apgar Village - to the Apgar Transit Center as a first step toward implementing a decision from the 1999 Final General Management Plan to develop a visitor center and museum at the site. The existing transit center parking lot is too small to accommodate additional parking once visitor center operations are moved.

The FONSI is available online on the NPS planning website.

Hiking Glacier National Park

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Injured Hiker Rescued from Hanging Canyon in Grand Tetons

And yet another rescue in Grand Teton National Park. Rangers had to rescue an injured hiker yesterday, after he slipped and tumbled 20 feet on rocky terrain and sustained facial and lower leg injuries. Paul Danes, 23, of Raleigh, North Carolina was scrambling alone and off trail near the mouth of Hanging Canyon at the time of his accident.

Other day hikers who were in the Hanging Canyon area heard cries for help and discovered Danes. They provided basic care for his injuries and placed a cell phone call for help at 12:45 p.m. that was received by Teton Interagency Dispatch Center.

Based upon the call and the relatively close location to the Jenny Lake westshore trail, rangers made preparations to evacuate Danes by a wheeled-litter handled by four rescuers. Upon reaching Danes by foot, rangers determined that a helicopter short-haul evacuation was the more prudent rescue technique. The decision was made because of a combination of Danes' injuries and the rough and rocky terrain over which the wheeled-litter would be hauled to complete an evacuation by ground.

A Teton Interagency contract helicopter was summoned at 3 p.m. and an aerial evacuation of the injured hiker was completed by 4:15 p.m. Danes was transported by park ambulance to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson for further medical treatment.

Danes is working as a seasonal concession employee in Yellowstone National Park for the summer.

This is now the 7th major search and rescue operation in Grand Teton National Park this summer.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Proposal to Construct Fish Passage Barrier on Lower Akokala Creek

Glacier National Park announced yesterday the beginning of public scoping for a proposal to construct a fish passage barrier on lower Akokala Creek, in the vicinity of the Akokala Creek Bridge. The proposed barrier will help protect native fish in the Akokala system from potential invasion by non-native fish species. Public scoping is the first step involving the public in the environmental assessment process.

Akokala Lake lies at the headwaters of the Akokala drainage in the park's North Fork District and supports a small population of bull trout. Genetic testing conducted in 2008 suggests genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout are present in the upper portions of the drainage, including Akokala Lake. Both bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout are native to the park. A direct tributary of the North Fork of the Flathead River, the Akokala drainage is susceptible to invasion by non-native fish, such as lake trout, rainbow trout, and possibly brook trout. Akokala Lake is one of the last bull trout supporting lakes on the west side of the park that is accessible to but has not yet been colonized by lake trout.

Lake trout have already invaded nine of the twelve lakes they are able to access on the west side of the park and are known to have severe detrimental effects on bull trout populations. Rainbow trout are invading North Fork tributaries and threaten westslope cutthroat trout populations with competition and hybridization. Genetic samples collected in 2009 indicate that hybridization between rainbow trout and westslope cutthroat trout is beginning to occur in the lower reaches of Akokala Creek. Brook trout can out-compete westslope cutthroat trout and hybridize with bull trout. While brook trout are not currently known to occur in the North Fork, they are present in tributaries of the Middle Fork and the potential exists for the species to invade the North Fork and its tributaries, including Akokala Creek.

The proposed project area is within the Wild and Scenic River corridor. The Akokala Creek Bridge is a non-contributing resource along the historic North Fork Road.

Two alternatives have been identified to date:

1) Alternative A - construct a fish passage barrier at or near the Akokala Creek Bridge, and

2) Alternative B - do not construct a fish passage barrier at or near the Akokala Creek Bridge (no action).

The public scoping brochure contains additional information about this project and is available on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website. Comments can be posted to this website or mailed to Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: Akokala Fish Barrier EA, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT, 59936.

Comments are due September 4, 2012.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Tools & Tips for Living and Recreating In Bear Country

The Hungry Horse/Glacier View Ranger District of the Flathead National Forest is hosting an educational Bear Fair on Saturday, August 11, 2012, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Coram, Montana. The event is at the Coram Community Center, 185 Coram School Lane, and is free and open to the public.

Participants will learn tips and tools for living in bear country, including information about bear country etiquette, safety and food storage. There will be informational booths, an electric fence seminar, various speakers, and a bear spray instruction. Displays include bear traps, mounts and hides. Food and refreshments provided. Between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. there will be presentations from the U.S. Geological Survey, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Center for Wildlife Information and electric fencing specialists.

The event is sponsored in partnership with the Flathead County/Flathead National Forest Resource Advisory Committee, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Glacier National Park, Living with Wildlife Foundation, Center For Wildlife Information, Defenders of Wildlife, Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, U.S.G.S. Bear DNA Study, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Glacier Association, Glacier Fund, Counter Assault, UDAP Pepper Power, Great Northern Environmental Stewardship Area, and the Trapline Café.

For more information contact the Hungry Horse – Glacier View Ranger District at 406-387-3800.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Trail to Grinnell Glacier is now open

Great news for visitors and hikers in the Many Glacier area: the park just announced on their Facebook page that the trail to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook is now open.

Here is the statement from the park:

Hikers are now getting all the way to the end of the Grinnell Glacier trail! Trail crews shoveled the remaining snow hazards yesterday and the trail is in good shape. Upper Grinnell Lake is still mostly frozen, and both Grinnell and Salamander Glaciers are still covered by last winter’s snow. Hiking to shrinking Grinnell Glacier is an iconic Glacier National Park experience. The hike is 11 miles roundtrip from the trailhead or 8 miles roundtrip if you take the boats. Either way, the elevation gain is 1600 feet. A ranger leads an interpretive hike to Grinnell Glacier each day, using the 8:30 boat from the Many Glacier Hotel. Boat tickets almost always sell out in advance, so make a boat reservation ahead to join this hike.

For more detailed information on hiking the trail to the Overlook, please click here.

Glacier National Park Hiking

Yellowstone Implementing Trail Closures And Fire Restrictions

Continued hot, dry conditions and a potential for increased fire activity have prompted Yellowstone National Park to reinstate fire restrictions and close some hiking trails and backcountry campsites.

The Dewdrop Fire, several miles east of Canyon Village, is the largest of five fires actively burning in the park. It is currently estimated at 25 acres. As a precaution, the following backcountry campsites and trail segments north and east of the Dewdrop Fire were closed Monday afternoon:

- Astringent Creek Trail at the junction of the Lower Pelican Creek Trail.
- Upper Pelican Creek Trail at the junction of the Lower Pelican Creek Trail.
- Wapiti Lake Trail East of campsite site 4M2 to Wapiti Lake.
- Fern Lake Trail
- Backcountry campsites 4B1, 4B2, 4B3, 4B4, 4W2, 4W3, 5B1, 5B2, and 5P7.

The fire danger in the park remains Very High.

Because of forecast continued hot and dry conditions, Yellowstone will reinstitute the following fire restrictions, effective noon Wednesday:

- Campfires are allowed only in established fire grates or fire rings in picnic areas or campgrounds. The use of portable charcoal grills is prohibited.
- Any fire which can produce an ash is prohibited in the backcountry.
- You can use portable stoves and lanterns which use propane, white gas, kerosene, or jellied petroleum for fuel anywhere in the park.
- Smoking is prohibited along all trails and anywhere in the backcountry.
- Smoking is allowed in vehicles and along roads, near buildings, and in developed campgrounds or picnic areas if you are standing in an area at least three feet in diameter where nothing on the ground will burn.

The other active fires are the Shoshone, Camera, Range, and Dewdrop 2. The largest of these is just one acre in size.

Other than the listed temporary closures of some backcountry campsites and hiking trails, all park entrances, roads and services are open. None of these fires pose a threat to park visitors.

When actively burning, smoke from the Dewdrop Fire may be visible from park roadways or from the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout Web Cam.

There have been 11 fires reported in Yellowstone this year. Seven were started by lightning, and four were human caused. The largest to-date has been July's 29-acre Blacktail Fire.

Updated information is available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2580, or on the web here.

Hiking in

Glacier Park Invites Public to Brown-Bag Seminar

The Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center at Glacier National Park is hosting a free brown-bag lecture on Thursday, August 9 from 12- 1pm at the Community Building in West Glacier. The public is invited to join Dr. E William (Billy) Schweiger who will present a talk on "Long Term Monitoring of Stream Ecological Integrity" in Glacier National Park.

This talk will present preliminary results from efforts that began in 2007 to monitor Glacier National Park's streams by the Rocky Mountain Inventory and Monitoring Network. The program develops and conducts monitoring of key ecological systems using a science based approach focused on long-term management applications.

Included in the seminar will be a brief summary of the status of water chemistry, stream physical habitat and biology along with a summary of data on Didymosphenia geminata ("rock snot") and how this native, but highly invasive, diatom might be a bell weather of coming changes in the park's aquatic ecosystems.

Dr. Schweiger has worked for the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program for the last eight years, helping to develop several ecological monitoring protocols for six National Parks. Prior to working for the National Park Service has was a research scientist for the US Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information about the presentation, or the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center, please visit or contact 406-888-7863.

Hiking Glacier National Park

Monday, August 6, 2012

Kreiser Family Issues Statement

The parents of missing hiker Jakson Kreiser have issued the following statement to the public:

"It is extremely difficult for us to imagine that we have lost our beautiful son, Jakson. We believe that he has found the world's greatest resting place. Jakson absolutely fell in love with Glacier National Park, all that it has to offer, as well as all of the people he came to know.

On the 28th of July we were informed that Jakson had not returned from a day hike he took on the 27th. The days since this have obviously been the most difficult of our lives. The outpouring of love and prayers from our families, friends and strangers has touched us deeply.

Jakson and our family have been fortunate to have so many friends in Michigan. The love and support shown by all who attended his prayer vigil on August 2nd was overwhelming - we want to thank all that attended - we love you. We were also very grateful to get to know Jakson's new friends at Glacier National Park and we will cherish our time with them.

Throughout this difficult ordeal we feel blessed to have been embraced by the Glacier National Park family, to whom we would like to express our sincere and heartfelt thanks. These men and women have been concerned, caring, courageous and amazingly compassionate in their search for our Jakson. We also want to thank all of the extended family here at Glacier National Park including all of the assisting agencies and the folks at the Lake McDonald Lodge.

While we have appreciated the concern for Jakson we want to thank you for respecting our privacy during these difficult days and ask that our privacy continues to be respected."

The search for Jakson Kreiser has entered a continuous, but limited mode after eight days of rigorous aerial and ground search. New clues will be investigated as they come forward. The National Park Service would like to join the Kreisers in thanking North Valley Search and Rescue, Flathead Search and Rescue, Can Am Search and Rescue Team, Flathead County Sheriff's Office, Lake County Sheriff's Office, and the US Border Patrol for their assistance throughout the search.

A picture and description of Jakson Kreiser has been posted on trailhead signs in the search vicinity. Anyone that may have information regarding his whereabouts is encouraged to contact park dispatch at 406-888-7800.

Hiking Glacier National Park

Injured Hiker Rescued in Grand Tetons

An injured hiker was rescued via helicopter from Waterfalls Canyon in Grand Teton National Park late in the afternoon on Saturday, August 04, 2012. Jessica Haines, 21, of Laguna Beach, California fell approximately 20 feet while ascending the canyon just above Columbine Cascades.

Haines was hiking with two companions in the canyon when they decided to separate while she hiked high off to the north side of the canyon to view geologic features before reuniting with her group at Wilderness Falls. Haines fell vertically in a rocky area before coming to rest on a ledge sustaining non-critical injuries. Due to her location and injuries, Haines was unable to continue down the canyon.

Haines radioed for help using a VHF radio typically carried on maritime vessels and water craft. A park ranger on a routine patrol of Jackson Lake heard the transmission and notified Teton Interagency Dispatch Center of the situation at 3:19 p.m. Park rangers in the north district of Grand Teton National Park initiated a rescue response but due to the technical nature of the terrain they requested additional rangers and a Teton Interagency contract helicopter to perform a short-haul evacuation of Haines.

Park rangers reached Haines at 6:30 p.m., provided emergency medical care, and prepared her for a short-haul flight in an aerial evacuation suit attended by a park ranger below the helicopter. Haines was short-hauled from the location to a landing zone on the west shore of Jackson Lake before being transported across the lake on a Grand Teton National Park patrol boat. She was met by a waiting park ambulance on the east shore and transported to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson for further care.

Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual is suspended below the helicopter on a 100 to 200 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. Patients are typically flown out via short-haul with a ranger attending to them below the helicopter, as was the case for this rescue.

Waterfalls Canyon sits between Ranger Peak to the north and Eagles Rest Peak to the south. It is at the north end of Grand Teton National Park and directly west of Colter Bay Village. The canyon is accessed from the west shore of Jackson lake and does not have maintained trails.

Haines is working locally this summer. This was the sixth major search and rescue operation in the mountains of Grand Teton National Park this summer.

Hiking Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park in the Fall

September is an outstanding time to visit Glacier National Park. The weather is usually quite spectacular, the trails are completely free of last year's snow, the aspens are beginning to turn brilliant yellow, and most of the summer crowds have left for the season - which means no traffic jams and no over-crowded trails.

If you're thinking about visiting this fall, now's the time to make your reservation. Our lodging and accommodations page on offers a wide variety of overnight accommodations in the Glacier Park area. Please know that by supporting one of our advertisers you help to support

Please click here to see all of our listings.

Thank you very much!

Hiking Glacier National Park

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Glacier National Park in 1956

Take a tour of Glacier National Park in 1956. I recently found this vintage film footage on Youtube that I thought was pretty interesting. The film gives a video overview of the park as it was more than 50 years ago. Unfortunately the film doesn't have any sound, but still provides an interesting glimpse into the past:

Hiking Glacier National Park

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Additional Tracks Found in Missing Hiker Search

Additional clues were found Friday evening in the continued search for missing hiker, Jakson Kreiser. Partial boot tracks similar to the boots believed to be worn by Kreiser were found in the Floral Park area by trained human trackers assisting with the search. These tracks are believed to be different from those found on July 31.

Incident Commander Scott Emmerich said, "We're adjusting our resources based on the location of clues found." He said search efforts will continue today with ground and aerial operations focused on the Floral Park and Avalanche Basin areas. Several members of the search team spent last night in the backcountry and are prepared to do so again.

The search for Kreiser, a seasonal employee with Glacier Park, Inc. at Lake McDonald Lodge, began Sunday, July 29. Kreiser was reported missing when he failed to return following a hike on Saturday, July 28.

The search area has been focused in the area between Hidden Lake and Avalanche Lake, specifically in the Floral Park area. This area includes some treacherous country filled with rock cliffs, water falls, wet and slippery rocks and boulders, and dense vegetation.

Kreiser is from Michigan. This is his first year working in the area. He is 6 feet 2 inches tall with black, short and curly hair, and a black beard. It is believed he is wearing a yellow/gold sweatshirt and grey colored khaki pants, and carrying a grey and yellow backpack.

A park incident management team has been organized and is managing the incident. North Valley Search and Rescue, Flathead Search and Rescue, and Flathead County Sheriff's Office are assisting the National Park Service with search operations.

On Thursday the park published a map of the area that rescuers are searching:

The map provides an idea of the rugged terrain where search operations are being conducted. Officials believe his intended route was from Logan Pass to Avalanche Lake. The boot tracks believed to be Kreiser’s, found in the Floral Park area, is located towards the lower right hand corner of the map (the red lines on the map indicate designated trails).

Anyone that may have been in the Logan Pass, Hidden Lake, Floral Park or Avalanche Lake areas over the weekend and may have seen Kreiser, is encouraged to contact park dispatch at 406-888-7800.

Glacier National Park Trails

Should we be concerned about the decline in backpacking?

The other day I stumbled upon a posting in a blog called Early Warning, which lamented the decline of backpacking. In the posting the author, Stuart Staniford, created a graph of "Back Country Overnights" using data from the National Park Service (from 1979 to 2011). Staniford states that this data "seems likely to be a decent proxy for overall backpacking levels". Here's a look at his graph:

Staniford makes an interesting observation about the data:

"backpacking is a very cheap way to vacation, and it appears that there is something of a tendency for it to increase during and following recessions (grey boxes), and decline during booms."

However, it was Staniford's conclusion that caught my attention: "Whatever the cause, it's a worrying trend for those of us who care about the natural world".

My first problem with the analysis was that he was using data only from the National Park Service, which only covers National Park units, but doesn't include Wilderness Areas, National Forests, National Monuments, BLM lands, State Parks, and other forested areas. My thought was that this slice of data was too narrow to get a true representative picture of backpacking. So I turned to the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) which publishes the Outdoor Recreation Participation Study on an annual basis. The study looks at participation rates among a variety of outdoor pursuits. Unfortunately the study only goes back to 2006. Moreover, the trends for that time period are very similar to what the NPS is reporting.

According to the latest Outdoor Recreation Participation Study, participation in backpacking was virtually flat when comparing 2011 to 2006. Camping in general fell roughly 7.6% during that same time period.

However, I don't think Mr. Staniford has much to worry about in terms of people enjoying the great outdoors. Participation in day hiking has jumped 15.5% over the last 5 years. Moreover, there are almost 5 times as many people that report participation in hiking as compared to backpacking. All this bodes extremely well for those of us that wish to see continuing support for our wilderness areas.

The latest OIA report also shows that participation in canoeing has increased 6.9% between 2006 and 2011. Trail running increased by 23%, mountaineering increased by 2%, rafting increased by 5.9%, and recreational kayaking actually doubled in that same time frame.

Maybe the takeaway from all this data is that people are enjoying the outdoors more, and are enjoying it in a broader array of recreational pursuits, but prefer the creature comforts of civilization at the end of the day.

To read the entire Early Warning posting, please click here.

Glacier National Park Trails

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wildlife Officials Kill Lion Believed Responsible for Harper's Lake Encounter

Last week I posted a story about mountain lion that approached a four-year-old child at Harpers Lake Campground in the Blackfoot Valley. In a press release dated yesterday, state wildlife officials stated they believe they have killed that lion.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) personnel have been on-site pursuing this unusually aggressive lion in the lower Clearwater watershed for more than a week and were able to track and kill the lion on the late evening of Aug. 1.

FWP Biologist, Jay Kolbe and wildlife conflict specialist, Bob Wiesner, dispatched the lion around 11 p.m. after responding to a report of a lion attack on a dog near a home on River Watch Trail, several miles north of Harpers Lake.

“We are relieved to have this lion out of the area,” said Kolbe. “Its approach on that child last week was a signal that this lion might continue approaching people, and it had not responded to multiple attempts to frighten it away.”

Kolbe said that the lion killed matches the witness' descriptions and photos of the Harper’s lion. The lion was a 117-pound young adult male with little fat and an empty stomach, according to Kolbe. FWP will transport the carcass to the FWP Wildlife Lab in Bozeman for further examination.

Kolbe suspects that it is a different set of lions that have been sighted recently at Salmon Lake Campground, and reminds those spending time at Salmon Lake, or anywhere outdoors in western Montana, to review lion safety tips.

Some key tips include keeping small children and pets nearby. In the case of an encounter, immediately pick up small children and don’t run from or approach the lion. Give the lion room to leave the area, remain standing and face the lion, talk in a calm voice, and enlarge your image as much as possible. If a lion attacks, fight back.

For more information on recreating in mountain lion country, and what to do if you encounter one, please click here.

Glacier National Park Trails

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Update on Missing Hiker

Crews continue to search for missing hiker Jakson Kreiser in Glacier National Park. An additional boot track matching the sole of Kreiser's boots was found yesterday near Mary Baker Lake in the Floral Park area.

The search for Kreiser, a seasonal employee with Glacier Park, Inc. at Lake McDonald Lodge, began Sunday, July 29th. Kreiser was reported missing when he failed to return following a hike on Saturday, July 28th.

The search area is focused in the area between Hidden Lake and Avalanche Lake, specifically in the Floral Park area. This area includes some treacherous country filled with rock cliffs, waterfalls, wet and slippery rocks and boulders, and dense vegetation.

This afternoon the park published a map of the area that rescuers are searching:

The map provides an idea of the rugged terrain where search operations are being conducted. Officials believe his intended route was from Logan Pass to Avalanche Lake. The boot tracks believed to be Kreiser’s, found near Mary Baker Lake, is located towards the lower right hand corner of the map (the red lines on the map indicate designated trails).

To get an idea of the ruggedness of the terrain from a ground viewpoint, here is a photo of Avalanche Lake looking towards Monument Falls and the Floral Park area (towards the upper left in this photo):

A park incident management team has been organized and is managing the incident. North Valley Search and Rescue, Flathead Search and Rescue, Flathead County Sheriff's Office and the US Border Patrol are assisting the National Park Service with search operations.

Anyone that may have been in the Logan Pass, Hidden Lake, Floral Park or Avalanche Lake areas over the weekend and may have seen Kreiser, is encouraged to contact park dispatch at 406-888-7800.

Glacier National Park Trails

Yellowstone Park Video: Safety in Bear Country

While hiking in Yellowstone, or Glacier National Park, or any other wilderness area that has grizzly bears, your best line of defense in the unlikely event of an attack is bear spray. According to one study, bear spray is 95% effective in stopping a bear attack, while firearms are only 55% effective.

Below is a video produced by Yellowstone National Park that demonstrates what you can do if you stumble upon a bear while hiking, how to handle a bluff charge, and how to properly use bear spray.

In a January 2012 Backpacker Magazine article, Dave Parker, a certified bear spray safety trainer, is quoted as saying that:

"If an animal comes within 50 feet, use your spray. If the bear isn’t running, point the nozzle about 30 feet away, and fire a series of one-to-two-second bursts. If it’s charging, point the spray at the bear’s chest and hold the trigger until the can is fully discharged. Out of spray and the grizzly is still charging? Don’t run, lay on your stomach, cover your head, and play dead."

Jamie Jonkel, a bear management specialist with the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, offers some additional advice:

"If a bear charges from a distance, spray a two to three second burst in the direction of the bear. Experts recommend bear spray with a minimum spray distance of 25 feet.

Point the canister slightly down and spray with a slight side-to-side motion. This distributes an expanding cloud of spray that the bear must pass through before it gets close to you. Spray additional bursts if the bear continues toward you.

Sometimes just the noise of the spray and the appearance of the spray cloud is enough to deter a bear from continuing its charge. Spray additional bursts if the bear makes additional charges.

If you have a sudden close encounter with a bear, spray at the front of the bear. Continue spraying until the bear either breaks off its charge or is going to make contact."

For more information on hiking in bear country, including how to avoid a surprise encounter, please click here.

If you need to purchase bear spray for an upcoming hiking trip, please click here.

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