Glacier National Park

Glacier Rim Fire Update

14 hours ago
A view of the Glacier Rim Fire from the air, July 5, 2015
Inciweb/LChute

The Glacier Rim fire south of Glacier National Park slopped over fire lines due to high winds on July fourth, but firefighters made progress yesterday thanks to cooler weather and higher humidity. The fire is now estimated at 100 acres in size, up from 85 acres last week. It's being called 70% contained, that’s up from the 50% containment figure given on Friday.

Fireworks Bans Spread Across Western Montana

Jul 2, 2015
Fireworks
(PD)

Fireworks bans are spreading across western Montana in the face of hot, dry weather, and high fire danger.

The City of Whitefish has canceled its 4th of July public fireworks display, citing a fire weather watch for Saturday, issued by the National Weather Service. The Weather Service says to expect high temperatures, low humidifies and gusty winds from the Flathead Valley, through Missoula to south of Dillon. Communities included in the fire weather watch include Eureka, Libby, Polson, Seeley Lake, Hamilton and Butte.

Rep. Ryan Zinke. File photo.
Eric Whitney

Montana's Representative in the U.S. House says a wildfire burning near Glacier National Park shows why comprehensive forest management reform is needed. Republican Ryan Zinke yesterday visited with crews fighting the 85-acre Glacier Rim Fire.

Fire Near Glacier Park Has Burned 80 Acres

Jun 29, 2015
North Fork of the Flathead River
U.S. Forest Service

A human-caused fire that started over the weekend just outside Glacier National Park has burned 80 acres and started eight spot fires inside the Park. Officials are calling the Glacier Rim Fire 25% contained.

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

After four years as the deputy superintendent of Glacier National Park, Kym Hall is leaving Montana.

Hall’s career in the National Park Service spans almost 29 years. She came to Glacier during a transition of leadership in the park, before Jeff Mow was named superintendent. She briefly served as acting superintendent of the park in 2013. She says in her mind Glacier will remain an important place.

National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow welcomes the Janssen family as the honorary 100 millionth visitor in park history. National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow welcomes the Janssen family as the honorary 100 millionth visitor in park history.
Corin Cates-Carney

Glacier National park marked another attendance milestone Thursday morning as the 100 millionth visitor in park history drove through the west entrance.

Going To The Sun Road To Open Partially June 11

Jun 10, 2015
Plow crews work their way up Going-to-the-Sun Road in April 2015
Flickr user: GlacierNPS (CC-BY-2.0)

Glacier National Park officials now say they anticipate allowing cars to access Logan Pass from the west side starting on the morning of Thursday, June 11, with a portion of the road being one-lane until June 19.

But they say Going-to-the-Sun road won’t be open from the east side until June 19th.

Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park
flickr: GlacierNPS (CC-BY-2)

A new visitor center will open in West Glacier this summer to encourage more tourists to visit the communities surrounding Glacier National Park. 

Whitefish Chamber of Commerce is taking the lead on the new visitor center, which is set to open July 1. Executive Director Kevin Gartland says this project is all about tapping into the pool of visitors during Glacier’s peak summer months, July and August.

Glacier National Park officials fielded questions about the condition of the Going-to-the-Sun Road Wednesday night at a community meeting in Columbia Falls.

Superintendent Jeff Mow opened the evening with a joke about an apparent sign that must be on his back, to ask when the Going-to-the-Sun Road will open for the season.

Bull trout in British Columbia’s Wigwam River drainage, the headwaters of the Kootenai River.
Joel Sartore National Geographic & Wade Fredenberg USFWS (CC-BY-2.0)

A Montana environmental group working on recovery of the threatened bull trout is critical of a new federal plan to save the fish.

"I guess I just don’t see this as being a holistic plan," says Arlene Montgomery.

A plow team work their way up the west side of Going-to-the-sun road in Glacier National Park. The team is about a half mile from the summit.
Corin Cates-Carney

Glacier National Park crews are getting the Going-to-the-Sun road ready for what officials say could be another record year for the park. But, before visitors climb the pass, a lot of work still needs to be done.

Tom Westbrook (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

In 2014, Glacier National Park set an all-time visitation record. But, with the record comes concern for growing traffic in the park.

Park Officials are looking for public comment on The Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor Management Plan, which started in 2013.

Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park
flickr: GlacierNPS (CC-BY-2)

Entrance to Glacier National Park, and all national parks, is free this weekend in honor of National Park Week.

The free weekend comes soon after after the Park Service launched it’s “Find Your Park” marketing campaign, to celebrate the Park Service’s centennial, in 2016.

Corin Cates-Carney

I’m Corin Cates-Carney at the tenth annual pond skip at the Whitefish Mountain Resort.

A large pool waits for skiers and snowboards at the bottom of the mountainside runway. The goal is to skip across the icy water, dressed in costume, with prizes awarded to those who make it, and those who don’t, but fail in style.

Western Glacier Stonefly
U.S. Geological Service

A lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Center for Biological Diversity could force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make a decision on whether protect an insect only found in Glacier National Park.

Eric Whitney

Backcountry skier Ryan Swantner is willing to work hard to get in his turns, but lately he’s had to work harder than usual.

A Glacier National Park ranger shot and killed a mountain lion this weekend as it fought with a park employee's dog.

The dog took a beating, but expected to fully recover,  after tangling with the big cat late Saturday afternoon.

Flickr user SBebee

Dupuyer-area rancher, Karl Rappold, is thrilled that the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act has finally passed.

"My grandparents and my mom and dad took care of this place. the bears and wolves and everything else. This is a historic deal for me to see that my grandkids and their grandkids will hopefully have this same view and this same region will be protected so it will never change," says Rappold.  

Last week Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act which now awaits President Obama's signature.

U.S. Forest Service Northern Region (CC-BY-2.0)

The U.S. Senate has approved an expansive bill that adds new wilderness lands in Montana and blocks mining and drilling near Glacier National Park.

The measures were in a defense bill that passed 89 to 11 today.

The bill adds 67,000 acres to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. It also allows for a complex coal swap involving the Northern Cheyenne Indians. The tribe will get back 5,000 acres of coal deposits it was wrongly stripped of more than a century ago.

Senator John Walsh used his last speech on the Senate floor this morning to talk about money in politics, protecting Montana public lands and veteran suicides.

In August, Walsh dropped out of his Senate reelection bid amid a plagiarism scandal.

Walsh said 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

"If this country were losing 22 service members a day on the battlefield, Americans would be in the streets protesting."

On Tuesday, the House unanimously passed a bill to reduce vet suicides, it’s now before the Senate.

Flickr user Bitterroot (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

Montana's Senators and Senator-elect today announced what they're calling a “landmark” package of public lands legislation. It's being tacked on to a Defense authorization bill that the House and Senate are expected to vote on this week and next.

Yellowstone Drone Problems Don't Plague Glacier

Sep 4, 2014
National Park Service

A German man has been charged with four misdemeanors related to crashing a drone into Yellowstone Lake this summer. In addition to violating the park’s ban on unmanned aircraft, Andreas Meissner is charged with filming without a permit, leaving property unattended, and giving a false report to authorities in the July 17 incident.

Yellowstone National Park Spokesman Al Nash says Meisner is not the only person to be cited for flying a drone in the park.

“We’ve actually charged three different people regarding use of unmanned aircraft in Yellowstone this summer,” Nash says.

An audio postcard. Beth Anne talks with Darryl, Nancy and Ray about their three-generation family road trip from Pennsylvania to Montana.  Nancy narrates the trip itinerary, from Falling Water in Pennsylvania to a farm in Ohio, from giant sand dunes on the shore of Lake Michigan to Buffalo Bill State Park in Wyoming. Darryl recalls an unusual encounter with a familiar four-legged critter in Yellowstone National Park in 1948. Twelve-year-old Ray chimes in with his perspective, including an alternative vision for the scenic Dry Fork drainage on the east side of Glacier National Park.

Katrin Frye

After 70 years the bulk of the businesses in West Glacier have changed hands from one family, to an Arizona-based Corporation. Glacier Park Incorporated runs several hotels and businesses in the area surrounding Glacier Park, and had been the concessions contractor for the in-Park hotels for thirty-plus years before losing the contract to Xanterra last year.

GlacierNPS License (CC-BY-2.0)

A Washington state woman died one day after falling into a creek in Glacier National Park.

Park spokeswoman Denise Germann identifies the victim as Abigail Sylvester of Buckley, Washington. Sylvester was 33-years-old.

Germann says the investigation indicates Sylvester was taking a picture of McDonald Creek, near the upper falls, when she slipped, fell in and was rapidly carried downstream in the cold, swollen and fast-running creek. Her husband jumped-in to save her, but eventually had to save himself due to the extreme conditions.

Katrin Frye

Waterton-Glacier International Peace park connects over the US-Canada border between Montana and Alberta. However, the two parks don’t match up in their cross-border boundary.

Glacier Park stretches west to encompass the North Fork Flathead River Valley, but the Canadian Flathead is not part of the Park. The Canadian Flathead is Provincial land, akin to state or forest service land in the US, and offering the potential for logging or mineral development. Conservationists have been angling to “Complete the Park” by expanding Waterton into the North Fork Valley.

Jake Bramante/hike734.com

Hiker Jake Bramante reached his destination, just on the other side of Gable Pass in Glacier National Park. He was looking to find an area he had seen once before, a limestone boulder field he knew was home to a population of one of his favorite animals—the pika.

“Any time I get to see them it’s always a special thing,” Bramante said. “They’re just cute and I love how hearty they are.”

Hearty in the right climate, anyway.

  “Some of these high elevation species that are dependent on cold, they may have some problems here in the Northern Rockies,”

Katrin Frye

Barricades came down, open signs switched on, and employees went back to work as Glacier National Park reopened. The partial government shutdown closed the national parks October first.

Public Affairs Officer Denise Germann says the Park had about 20 to 30 people working during the shutdown. As of Thursday about 250 employees were back on.

She said a lot of the work going on right now involves getting housing and lodging buttoned up for the winter.

If reporters have a question about Glacier National Park, they usually first call the park's public affairs officer, Denise Germann.