MTPR

Glacier National Park

Malinda Goldhirsch makes the initial attack on a fire near her home that started due to downed powerlines Thursday night.
Libby Goldhirsch

The dry thunderstorm that swept through the Flathead area last night set off dozens of spot fires, left about 5,000 houses without power for hours and previews what’s to come this weekend as a new weather front moves in.

Malinda Goldhirsch lives in Whitefish and got a firsthand taste of the powerful storm while watching TV with her family.

Logan Pass visitor's center on a busy summer day.
Tom Westbrook (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

For the first time, more than one million people entered Glacier National Park in a single month. Park officials made the announcement Monday.

The crowds are causing park officials to set time limits on some parking spaces, including up at Logan Pass. Next week about 60 parking spaces at the pass will have a one hour limit, aiming to move along the traffic congestion in the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor.

Glacier National Park recently reopened Lake McDonald to some motorboat users, following a months-long quarantine to keep invasive mussels out of the lake.
Nicky Ouellet

This summer one tiny-shelled invertebrate has dominated the conversation about keeping non-native species out of Montana.

Since zebra and quagga mussel larvae were detected in Tiber Reservoir last summer, local, state, tribal and federal agencies have scrambled to enact programs and policies to keep the mussels out of Montana’s waterways.

Taif Salam and Carez Zozik are two of the 25 students participating in the Iraqi Young Leaders Program at UM.
Rachel Cramer

A group of 25 college students from Iraq is visiting Missoula. They arrived on July 10,  just as Iraqi forces were reclaiming the city of Mosul from Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

The students are part of an exchange of Iraqi Young Leaders arranged by the U.S. State Department and the University of Montana with a focus on international peace building.

Boat inspections are mandatory at City Beach and Whitefish Lake State Park this season
Nicky Ouellet

As the state ramps up its efforts this year to screen boats for invasive species, some local groups have taken inspections into their own hands.

The City of Whitefish and the Whitefish Lake Institute, for example, have been running two city-funded mandatory check stations since Memorial Day at the only public boat launches on Whitefish Lake. The Whitefish Lake Institute, a local nonprofit that monitors water quality on the lake, also runs a decontamination station.

A group of 25 college students from Iraq are in Montana, as part of a Young Leaders Exchange Program arranged by the U.S. State Department and the University of Montana.
Natalie Dawson, director of the Wilderness Institute

A group of 25 college students from Iraq are in Montana, as part of a Young Leaders Exchange Program arranged by the U.S. State Department and the University of Montana. The three-week tour is focused on international peace building through studies in environmental and cultural preservation.

A heavy air tanker drops retardant on the July fire on Monday
InciWeb

Update 5 p.m. 07/11/17

Fire officials are now investigating whether a person is responsible for starting the big fire burning near Zortman.

"In order not to compromise the investigation, the BLM is not currently discussing the active investigation," says Pat Stocktt, who's with the Western Montana Incident Management Team.

Cyclists admire the view atop Going to the Sun Road under a full moon Saturday night
Nicky Ouellet

On Saturday night, I did what every newcomer to the Flathead Valley does to prove that they’re a local: I tossed a bike in my trunk and set out for Glacier National Park to bike Going-to-the-Sun Road by the light of the full moon.

At about 9:30 pm I watched a shadow creep up the side of the continental divide on the side of Going To The Sun Road, and then hopped on my bike and joined the stream of bikers making the climb up the iconic road.

From left to right: Harry Barnes, Smokey RidesAtTheDoor, Tim Davis, Jay DustyBull sing an honoring song for Francis X. Guardipee, the first Blackfeet National Park Ranger, June 30, 2017 in Glacier National Park..
Nicky Ouellet

In celebration of the opening of Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park this week, members of the Blackfeet Tribe held an honoring ceremony.

Amid the peaks of the Continental Divide, Blackfeet men in full regalia sang an honoring song for Francis X. Guardipee, the first Blackfeet tribal member to serve as a National Park Ranger.

Glacier National Park opened the full 50 miles of its iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road Wednesday, June 28.
Glacier National Park

Motorists rejoice! Glacier National Park opened the full 50 miles of its iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road Wednesday.

After weeks of plowing, installing guard rails and removing rock debris, park officials have deemed the road safe for vehicular traffic.

Grizzly bears in the NCDE  have been roaming far east of the Rocky Mountains following drainages, streams and food into the tan waves of farmland stretching out from the forest edges of the Rocky Mountain Front.
Josh Burnham

Last Thursday the Interior Department announced that it’s removing Yellowstone-area grizzly bears from the endangered species list. It’s expected that grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) will be de-listed in 2020.

For the first time in a lifetime, grizzly bears in the NCDE  have been roaming far east of the Rocky Mountains following drainages, streams and food into the tan waves of farmland stretching out from the forest edges of the Rocky Mountain Front.  

In the town of Valier, where about 500 people live along a lake an hour and a half drive from the mountains to the west, the community is still adjusting to living among grizzlies.

Montana Historical Society Press

Step out of a world governed by clocks and calendars and into the world of the Kootenai and Blackfeet peoples, whose traditional territories included the area that is now Glacier National Park.

Avalanche Lake sits at the end of the popular Avalanche Creek Trail in Glacier National Park.
Tim Raines/NPS (PD)

Glacier National Park officials have temporarily closed a popular trail due to increased bear activity. Officials closed Avalanche Creek Trail on the west side of the Park Monday after receiving reports of six different grizzly bears approaching people in the last week.

According to the press release, the bears are showing some signs of habituation, meaning they appear more comfortable than what is natural around humans.

A snow blower clears off the final snow drifts on the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, MT.
Nicky Ouellet

Plowing crews in Glacier National Park are clearing the final snow drifts from the park’s iconic main road, with hopes to open it entirely within the next few weeks. Though most of Going to the Sun Road is now open to bikers and hikers, one section just east of the Continental Divide remains buried under 15 feet of snow. 

Image from a Glacier Park Inc. proposal for a new RV park near West Glacier, MT.
Flathead County

Flathead County Commissioners Friday approved plans for a 100-spot RV park outside the west entrance to Glacier National Park.

With a unanimous vote by the commissioners, the company Glacier Park, Inc., is now cleared to move forward with its plan to develop 25 cabins and a 102-spot recreational vehicle campground adjacent to the village of West Glacier outside the western entrance to the park.

Image from a Glacier Park Inc. proposal for a new RV park near West Glacier, MT.
Flathead County

A proposal for a new RV park outside the western entrance of Glacier National Park goes before Flathead County Commissioners Friday.

Commissioners heard the plan from a company called Glacier Park Inc. (GPI) to build a campground with 102 recreational vehicle spaces and 25 rental cabins near the village of West Glacier on Tuesday, May 16, but held off on making a final decision so they could learn more about potential impacts to traffic.

These scientists are using GPS units to record precise locations of the edges of Grinnell Glacier.
USGS

Newly released data say glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park have shrunk as much as 85 percent since the 1960s, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Some are now so small they’ve lost the characteristics that make them glaciers.

Glacier National Park visitors wait for the shuttle bus.
Flickr user, Mike Willis (cc-by-2.0)

Starting this weekend, Glacier National Park will begin operating a spring transit shuttle for hikers and bicyclists traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Going-to-the-Sun will be vehicle free for several weeks. 

Night sky over Logan Pass in Glacier National park.
National Park Service/Jacob W. Frank

Most visitors go to Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park for the vistas and wildlife watching they can do during the day, but today, the pair of parks were recognized together for their exceptionally dark night skies.

Lee Rademaker says one of the best parts of his job is hearing people see the Milky Way for the first time.

Glacier National Park entrance sign.
Flickr user photommo (CC-BY-ND)

A company proposing to develop a new campground just outside Glacier National Park’s western entrance is facing opposition from the park, some local residents and agencies.

The company Glacier Park, Inc, plans to build a campground with 25 rental cabins and 102 recreational vehicle spaces near the village of West Glacier. GPI says it will also build a new water and sewer system for the development.

Bringing bison back to the Blackfeet Reservation and their historic range on land that now belongs to the U.S. Forest Service, like the Badger-Two Medicine and Chief Mountain, is a vision eight years in the making.
(PD)

Last fall, the Blackfeet Tribe announced plans to reintroduce free-roaming bison to federal land outside its reservation. On Wednesday, the tribe met with state and federal agencies for the third time this year to hash out what that would look like.

A plow team work their way up the west side of Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier National Park in 2015.
Corin Cates-Carney

Plowing began on the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park today. Though Lauren Alley, a public affairs specialist for the park, says it’s hard to say when the road will be entirely clear.

“That is always the question every year, how long will that take, and it really is variable year by year, it does take several months to get all that snow cleared off,” Alley says.

Fisheries biologists checking for adult invasive mussels.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Glacier National Park will lift restrictions on non-motorized, hand-propelled boats this season. But park superintendent Jeff Mow says mandatory invasive species inspections will simultaneously ramp up across the park.

Glacier National Park entrance sign.
Flickr user photommo (CC-BY-ND)

President Donald Trump Thursday proposed a 12 percent cut to the Interior Department's 2018 budget. And national park advocates like Phil Francis are not happy about it:

Several hundred friends, family and Forest Service personnel attended the funeral of a man killed after surprising a bear on June 29.
Nicky Ouellet

A new report details the final moments of a career Flathead National Forest law enforcement officer killed last summer after a chance encounter with a grizzly bear.

Glacier National Park Entrance At St. Mary
Flicker user GlacierNPS (CC-BY-2.0)

The National Park Service learned yesterday that seasonal employees for the agency have been deemed exempt from a federal hiring freeze. 

Update 2/10 7:00 a.m.: Both lanes of I-90 between St. Regis and Lookout pass have reopened. Standing water on highways across western Montana. Drive carefully!

Update 9:20 p.m.:  The Montana Department of Transportation is reporting that the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 are now open between St. Regis and Lookout pass. The eastbound lane remains closed due to standing water on the road. Heavy rain and melting snow continue to accumulate on the road. Find the latest road closures and conditions from the Montana Department of Transportation.

--

A legislative proposal to slap a $25 tax on out-of-state bicyclists visiting Montana turns out to be a big joke, but it's going over like a lead ballon.
PD

A proposal to connect existing bike paths in western Montana received widespread support at a meeting on the Flathead Reservation today. The big hurdle now is securing funding.

The proposed 34-mile multi-use path would follow U.S. 93 from its intersection with Interstate 90 to St. Ignatius.

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

The U.S. Interior Department Tuesday canceled the final two oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area between Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Reservation. The undeveloped leases were first issued in the 1980's in an area that is sacred to the Blackfeet Nation.

Stanton Mountain in Glacier National Park.
Jacob W. Frank/NPS (PD)

Authorities have identified the Kalispell man who died yesterday from injuries sustained in an avalanche while backcountry skiing in Glacier National Park. Thirty-six-year-old Ben Parsons was an accomplished endurance athlete, a firefighter in Whitefish and a youth mentor at Ridge Mountain Academy.

Pages