Glacier

Snow delays opening of Glacier's Sun Road until middle of next week

2012-06-12T20:30:00Z 2012-06-12T21:17:52Z Snow delays opening of Glacier's Sun Road until middle of next weekBy TRISTAN SCOTT of the Missoulian missoulian.com
June 12, 2012 8:30 pm  • 

WEST GLACIER – The opening of Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road was pushed back until the middle of next week after recent snowstorms hampered plow crews working to clear the road.

Park officials said Tuesday that a weekend storm dumped 10 inches of snow on the park’s upper reaches, causing snow slides and delaying progress. Since Memorial Day weekend, an estimated 35 inches of snow has fallen on the Sun Road’s higher elevations.

Officials had hoped to open the road to Logan Pass this Friday, June 15, but said a June opening is still better than last year’s endless winter, which kept Logan Pass off limits to vehicles until July 13.

“Our goal has been to open access to Logan Pass by mid-June, and we believe we can accomplish that by the middle of next week, weather dependent,” Glacier Park Deputy Superintendent Kym Hall said. “The weather has been challenging the past couple of weeks, but the plowing crew has put in extra time and done an exceptional job to provide mid-June access.”

Plowing continues as crews work to clear the Big Drift, a massive obstacle that towers approximately 30 feet high this year and is located about a quarter-mile east of the Logan Pass Visitor Center. Once crews plow through the Big Drift, they will likely encounter a foot of ice on the road that will require clearing, Hall said.

The crews are also removing snow and debris from recent snow slides, clearing snow along the road edges for two-lane travel, and plowing the parking lot at the visitor center. Some sections of the road had to be plowed again after the weekend snowfall, and trail and campground crews are pitching in by hand shoveling around the visitor center, restroom facilities and walkways at Logan Pass.

“In addition to all the snow removal, crews have to install hundreds of guardrails along the road,” Hall said.

Installation of the removable guardrails is time consuming but necessary, Hall said. The rails are removed each fall because avalanches can destroy them during the winter.

Currently, 29 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open to vehicle travel. Visitors can drive 15 1/2 miles from the West Entrance to Avalanche on the west side, and 13 1/2 miles from the St. Mary Entrance to Jackson Glacier Overlook on the east side.

This weekend, hiker/biker access will likely be limited to Bird Woman Falls Overlook on the west side and Siyeh Bend on the east side. That access may change on a daily basis depending on the progress of snow removal and road rehabilitation work, and Hall encouraged visitors to check current conditions at the park’s website at home.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm.

Hikers and bikers should always be on alert for construction hazards and avalanche danger, she said.

Information on the website is updated as conditions change. Visitors may also visit the park’s Facebook page or call park headquarters at (406) 888-7800 for current road and weather conditions.

Flathead Valley Bureau reporter Tristan Scott can be reached at (406) 730-1067 or at tscott@missoulian.com.

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on Missoulian.com

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian (Missoulian.com) may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in Missoulian.com's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on missoulian.com.

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Search our events calendar