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Entries in Glacier National Park (77)


Tester warns of MT economic impact from shutdown 

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)- Montana Senator Jon Tester is worried about how small businesses that depend on the late season tourist business would be able to weather another government shutdown.

The Senate has already given its blessing to a continuing resolution keeping the country running through December with a final vote Thursday. The House must also concur. And although there are some conservatives still pressing the issue of funding for Planned Parenthood, it appears there isn't enough broad GOP support to hold up the spending plan.

Tester believes enough lawmakers remember the negative reactions to the last shutdown 2-years ago, and aren't anxious for a repeat. He says that's good for Montana, since shutting down the government this time of the year can have a very sharp impact on the all important fall travel economy in communities close to Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.

"Each park is over a million dollars a day. In each park. That's real money. That's outside money, for the most part, and that's money that helps drive the economy in those different regions of the state," Tester told MTN News. "And it has it's impacts, very negatively on the small businesses that are trying to eke out a living there. And it just isn't good business. And look, business is tough enough to make ends meet and make the books balance without Congress being a boat anchor too." 


New fire roars to life in southern Glacier National Park

Connie Konopatzke photo(GLACIER N.P.)- Firefighting crews spent Sunday scrambling to get to a new fire that's roared to life in the Glacier National Park backcountry, in the southeast corner of the park.
The Thompson Fire was first spotted around 3 p.m. Sunday in the Thompson Creek drainage. The blaze lies southeast of Lake McDonald and west of the Upper Nyack Campground. But the location of the fire made the smoke easily visible from a broad area of the park, including St. Mary and U.S. 2 around the southern perimeter of the park. 

There have been no firm estimates on the size of the fire at this point, which is burning in the most remote corner of the park, but it's believed to be between 200 and 500 acres. Flathead National Forest had reported aircraft were being called up to the scene, with at least one helicopter in the area by Sunday evening and more in route.
The fire poses no risk to any structures. The only buildings in that corner of the park are some historic ranger cabins and outbuildings at Nyack. 



Going-to-Sun Road back in business this weekend 

GNP map showing restrictions on Going-to-Sun Road(WEST GLACIER)- For the first time since a fire ripped through the St. Mary Valley over 2-weeks ago, tourists will be able to drive completely through the Going-to-the-Sun Road, with the popular route re-opening Friday. 

The road was closed when the Reynolds Creek Fire broke out on the afternoon of July 21st, sweeping through the valley east of Logan Pass. Initially the road was closed between the St. Mary entrance station on the east and Big Bend on the west, and then re-opened as far east as Logan Pass.

However, since then the road remained closed through the scenic St. Mary Valley.

Now, the park has re-opened the entire route, although travel will be restricted to daylight hours between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. with drivers being warned to watch for firefighting activities along the highway. There will be no visitor travel during the evening, night and early morning hours.  

“We believe the night closure is in the best interest of the firefighters working in the area and the visitor," said Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow.  

Mow said access may increase or decrease according to fire activity and safety. 

The park says smoke may be visible and could reduce visibility at times, so visitors are required to drive slowly.  Active fire may be visible from the road, and visitors should watch for falling debris such as rocks and tree limbs, as well as fire-weakened trees.  Almost 500 hazard trees, fire-weakened trees, have been removed from along the road.  If anyone sees or encounters debris or fallen trees on the road, do not attempt to remove it, but please report it to a ranger or closest visitor center. 

Firefighters will be working and firefighting equipment will be staged along the road. Visitors will not be able to stop or park along the road or in pullouts between the St. Mary Campground and Siyeh Bend.  However, the Rising Sun area will have limited access to concession operations.  Siyeh Bend is located approximately one mile east of Logan Pass. 


Historic cabin lost in Reynolds Creek Fire

NPS archive photo (ST. MARY)- A historic guard cabin that was used for early rangers on the east side of Glacier National Park has been destroyed in the massive Reynolds Creek Fire. 

The Baring Creek Cabin, also known as the Sun Camp Fireguard Cabin, was destroyed when the fire came roaring down the Reynolds Creek Valley Tuesday. 

Glacier National Park managers made the announcement this evening, saying it's only structure that's been burned in the blaze, which has now covered approximately 4,000-acres. 

The guard station was built in 1935 by a local contractor as part of a compound of buildings used by rangers in Glacier's early days. 


Glacier soaked by nearly an inch of rain 

Glacier still stormy today, but heavy rains have eased- GNP photo(WEST GLACIER)- A flash flood watch has been canceled for Glacier National Park, where up to an inch of rain fell during intense storms on Tuesday. 

The National Weather Service had issued the watch following the heavy rains that swept through West Glacier and the west side of the park, raising the potential of flooding from some of the higher elevation creeks. However, with rains easing to showers this morning, the watch was canceled just after 7 a.m. 

The potential for flash floods can be especially dangerous this time of the year in the park, with more visitors entering Glacier at the same time creeks are already running high with snow melt. A few years ago, flash flooding in early summer kicked up a major rockslide that nearly hit several cars on the upper stretch of the Going-to-the-Sun Highway.