December 18, 2009
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Recent snow accumulation in Glacier National Park over the last week has prompted vehicle traffic restrictions on most park roads that had previously remained open for motorized traffic. With the holidays approaching and people thinking about winter recreation in and around the park, visitors will find sufficient snow for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and other non-motorized winter recreation.
Park roads currently open for vehicle traffic include the lower elevation, east and west sides of the Going-to-the-Sun Road (Sun Road). All other park roadways are now closed to motorized vehicle traffic due to winter conditions.
Park officials note that the Sun Road is currently open for vehicle travel 10 miles from West Glacier to Lake McDonald Lodge and 1.5 miles between St. Mary and the St. Mary Campground. Most roads will not be plowed and snow will be allowed to accumulate for non-mechanized recreational use such as cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Rehabilitation work on the Sun Road is now finished for the winter and will resume in spring 2010.
Throughout the winter, the National Park Service plows and maintains the west side Sun Road to Lake McDonald Lodge, a distance of 10 miles from West Glacier to Lake McDonald Lodge and from St. Mary entrance to the gate at the St. Mary campground on the east side. Depending upon local road/weather conditions, it may be possible to travel further into the park.
Winter camping (no water) is available in the park at Apgar Picnic Area and St. Mary Campground. There is no cost for winter camping; however, a valid entrance pass is required. Winter backcountry travelers are reminded that backcountry permits are required for all overnight backcountry trips. Winter permits are available, at no charge, Mondays through Fridays at park headquarters, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on weekends at the Apgar Visitor Center from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Avalanches are a real danger in the mountainous portions of Glacier. Check www.glacieravalanche.org for the latest avalanche hazard and weather advisory before entering the park’ backcountry.
Park visitors are reminded that even when entrance stations are not staffed, park entrance fees are still required. Upon entering the park, visitors are asked to follow posted instructions to pay entrance fees at self-pay stations at respective park entrances.
Reduced winter season entrance fees are now in effect (December 1, 2009, through April 30, 2010). Glacier’s winter entrance fee is $15 for vehicles and $10 for single entrants (hiker / bicyclist/motorcyclist) for a seven day pass. These reduced winter fees recognize the limited park services available during winter months.
Annual park passes, which allow visitors unlimited entry to the park for 12 months from the date of purchase, are available for purchase for $35. This fee will remain $35 for 2010. Annual park passes may be purchased at park headquarters on weekdays and at the West Glacier entrance station on weekends.
The Apgar Visitor Center is open weekends throughout the winter through the end of April 2010. It is open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., visitors may obtain information and assistance at park headquarters in West Glacier.
Current road conditions, updated as conditions change, are available on the park’s Web site at www.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm. Road conditions are also available by calling 511, the Montana Department of Transportation Traveler Information System. If your phone does not support 511, call 1-800-226-7623. Both numbers are toll-free. Select “Glacier Park Tourist Information” from the main menu to hear Glacier’s road report.
For additional park information, visit Glacier’s Web site (www.nps.gov/glac) or call 406-888-7800.
- NPS -