WEST GLACIER, Mont. [July 22, 2020] – After careful consideration, discussion, and with input from park staff, local businesses, and parks already implementing similar systems, Glacier National Park officials have decided not to implement the proposed temporary ticketed vehicle entry.
On June 27, park officials learned that access across the Blackfeet Reservation would remain closed for the summer due to COVID-19. Staff immediately began to explore implementing a ticketed entry system similar to what Yosemite National Park implemented this year. Since the park opened on June 8, Glacier has seen high levels of congestion on the west side of the park due to other areas being closed, fewer recreational opportunities, and limited services.
Over the past three weeks Superintendent Jeff Mow has engaged with over 100 businesses around the park to hear their questions and comments about implementing a ticketed entry system. Mow also met with park officials at other parks that have implemented reservation type services and discussed at length their experiences. After considering input from many sources and the uncertainty of upcoming conditions, park officials decided that the timing isn’t right to implement a ticketed entry system this summer.
“We heard support for a reservation system from community constituents because they know the park is at maximum capacity,” said Mow. “But there were serious concerns about implementing such a system with such short notice and midway through the visitor season.”
Visitors are reminded that the park is very busy and can be very congested throughout the summer months. The park may still have to implement visitor use restrictions to protect public health and safety and to provide for social distancing opportunities. Visitors are encouraged to check the online Recreation Access Display (RAD), the park’s webcams, and the park’s Twitter account for current conditions.
“This continues to be a summer like no other. It is uncertain if visitation will continue to increase or how COVID-19 may require us to change how the park is managed for visitors,” said Mow. “As we have for the last several weeks, our goal is to provide the best visitor experience under these challenging and uncertain conditions.”