More than 1.7 million people have visited Glacier National Park between the months of January and August this year, which is an increase of approximately 13 percent compared to 2011. Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright said, "This summer has been busy with many visitors enjoying the opportunity to discover the park's spectacular beauty and rich history." Peak visitation happens June through August, with more than 630,000 people visiting the park in July. Cartwright said, "We look forward to seeing additional visitors this fall when changing foliage and increased opportunities for solitude can be experienced."
Record visitors have also visited the park through the park's many social media sites. As a leader of social media efforts within the National Park Service, the park has over 123,000 "likes" on Facebook and over 8,600 followers on Twitter. These communication channels provide information about the park and park programs to individuals interested in Glacier National Park.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road shuttle system served almost 140,000 passengers this summer. The shuttle system provides access for visitors to locations along the Going-to-the-Sun Road and helps reduce congestion during the road rehabilitation work. The shuttle system is operated through a cooperative agreement with Flathead County Eagle Transit System, and funded using a portion of park entrance fee revenue with no additional cost to riders.
Cartwright encourages locals to enjoy and learn more about the park through a variety of ranger-led activities that continue through September 23. Guided hikes, boat tours, and evening programs are offered regularly and available throughout the park. Most programs are free of charge.
Evening programs are scheduled nightly at the Lake McDonald Lodge. Join a ranger for a creek side stroll along lower McDonald Creek and discover why Glacier National Park is famous for its biological diversity. Take a tour of the historic Many Glacier Hotel and learn about its history and restoration. Evening programs are available daily on the west and east side of the park with topics including, "Whitebark Pine: A Keystone Species" and "Artists of Glacier National Park." For more information on Glacier National Park ranger-led programs click here or contact the park at 406-888-7800.
Visitors are reminded the last day to access Logan Pass via the west side is Sunday, September 16. Vehicle traffic will be restricted at Avalanche Creek on the west side starting Monday, September 17. This schedule allows for accelerated rehabilitation work on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. East side access to Logan Pass will be available through Sunday, October 14.
Entrance fees will be waived for National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 29. Visitors are invited to experience the park during this time, but reminded to come prepared for changing fall weather and limited services. For more information about National Public Lands Day, including national events and programs, visit http://www.publiclandsday.org/.
Hiking Glacier National Park