Local businesses talk of cancellations and early closure due to Glacier Park shutdown

Oct 11, 2013

Businesses around the closed Glacier Park are feeling the pinch from the partial government shutdown. The fall is generally winding-down season as services in Glacier Park winterize. Many of the businesses have already shutdown for the season. Darwon Stoneman is owner, and one of the original founders of Glacier Raft Company in West Glacier, which started up in 1976. Stoneman says fishing and rafting are done this time of year, and they’ve closed up the retail shop, but they still offer cabin rentals.

I’d say we’ve had… close to 50% cancellation here in the last few weeks due to the government shutdown and the Park being closed- which I think is absurd. They could leave the gate open… and let people visit the Park. It’s really the American public’s Park,” Stoneman said.

He said the season starts up in June, and fizzles out by the end of October.

“For us, we have such a short season, and any little bit helps,” Stoneman said.

Director of the Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau Jan Metzmaker says her organization started up in 2006, to promote the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.

“If we can get our businesses to just be a little more successful in those shoulder seasons, they can keep their employees longer, and just have a better year. You can’t cram a whole business into July and August,” Metzmaker said.

In a press release Glacier Park says it counts on between 50,000 and 60,000 visitors in the month of October.