Glacier National Park is working on a Road Corridor Management Plan to address some of the issues increased visitation is bringing to popular areas along the Going to the Sun Road and the trails that connect to it.
According to the Chief of Planning and Compliance for Glacier Park Mary Riddle visitation at the Park is on an upward trend, and expected to continue to increase. Some of the popular trails have seen a rise in use as well, notably Avalanche Lake has seen a 250% increase since 1988.
"95% of the park is recommended wilderness, and with increasing use, that wilderness experience is being changed," Riddle said.
Riddle said an ideas they're looking at is being able to direct visitors to hike certain trails at different times to handle on-trail congestion. They're also looking for feedback on what to do about the popular shuttle buses. The shuttles started in 2007 when the construction as part of the Sun Road Rehabilitation project slowed traffic. She said the Park has money to run the buses, but not to replace them, and the future of the shuttle buses is uncertain. Impacts to trails is another issue Riddle said they're looking to address; things like bathrooms on or near popular trail is becoming a problem as more people use the trails.
This summer ushers in the first part of the public scoping process for the Corridor Management Plan and public meetings start next week. They'll operate as open houses with the public welcome to come anytime between 4 and 7 PM:
Public Meeting Schedule:
- Kalispell: Monday, June 24 Flathead National Forest Supervisor's Office 650 Wolfpack Way
- Missoula: Tuesday, June 25 Ruby's Inn & Convention Center 4825 N. Reserve Street
- Great Falls: Wednesday, June 26 Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, 4201 Giant Springs Road
- Waterton, Alerta Canada Bayshore Inn Resort and Spa, 111 Waterton Avenue
Conversations with visitors will be hosted throughout the park on July 19 and August 9. For additional information about the open houses and planning efforts, visit the park’s scoping newsletter available at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=47660 or contact the park at 406-888-7800.
- Summer 2013 Public Scoping - "Open House" meetings
- Summer 2014 Draft Alternatives out for public review
- End 2014 / Early 2015 Draft Plan and EIS
- 2016 Record of Decision
- 2017 Sun Road rehabilitation projected to be finished.
Public comments are encouraged and may be submitted online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/glac or by mail to: Glacier National Park, Attn: GTSR Corridor Plan, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT, 59936. Public scoping comments are due by September 6, 2013.