West Coal Timber Sale work finished for the season

Here’s the latest on the West Coal Timber Sale from Dave Ring, Stillwater Unit Manager with Montana DNRC. (Short version: Logging has finished for this winter, with only three small units left to be cut.)

…95% of the timber sale was completed earlier this month.  As the map indicates they are three smaller units to be completed before 2025 when the timber sale expires.  Folks can expect to see some minor road work and grass seeding occur this summer in and around the timber sale.

West Coal Timber Sale as of Feb 17, 2023
West Coal Timber Sale as of Feb 17, 2023

Road construction timing and restrictions revealed at Interlocal

The long-planned work on the upper 5.5 miles of the North Fork Road and on the segment of Glacier Drive between the Polebridge Mercantile and the Glacier Park entrance station is actually happening this year. It will cause significant disruptions.

According to a set of slides presented at last Wednesday’s Interlocal meeting. work begins on the North Fork Road on July 10 with minimal travel restrictions. Starting August 6, only folks with legitimate business will be allowed through the area with likely delays of up to half an hour. The presenter also mentioned that this project would wrap up by around mid-October. Here’s the slide…

North Fork Road construction 2023
North Fork Road construction 2023

The Glacier Drive construction project also kicks off on July 10. It will occur in two stages. Phase 1 will involve reconstructing the road segment from just beyond the Northern Lights Saloon to the park entrance and should be complete by August 14. Phase 2 involves work on the road surface and parking area in front of the Saloon and Merc properties and is expected to begin on August 14, finishing up by mid-September.  Construction activities will occur from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Reportedly, there are plans for park personnel to set up at the Polebridge turn-off to vet people wishing to enter Glacier Park. The level of disruption is left to the imagination of the reader. Here are the slides for the Glacier Drive project…

Glacier Drive construction 2023 - work limits
Glacier Drive construction 2023 – work limits
Glacier Drive construction 2023 - work timing
Glacier Drive construction 2023 – work timing

Brace yourselves folks. It’s going to be a very interesting summer season.

Camas Road “transit pass” will again be available this year

GNP Camas Road Bypass Entrance Permit - 2022The Camas Road “transit pass” (or whatever is officially called) that allows North Fork residents to shortcut through Glacier Park between the Camas and West Glacier gates without a “vehicle reservation” will be available on the same terms as last year.

From North Fork District Ranger Jim Dahlstrom: “…we will be doing the same as we did last year. Show up at HQ in West Glacier or the Polebridge Ranger Station with vehicle registration and we will issue passes. Again, limited to folks with actual addresses up the North Fork. No seasonal worker passes at this point.”

Fern Hart dies

Fern Hart
Fern Hart

From her obituary published in the Missoulian on Jan. 29, 2023 . . .

Fern Hart, former Missoula Clerk and Recorder/Treasurer and County Commissioner, died on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 in St. Patrick Hospital. She was 94. Fern was born Juanita Fern Morgan in Amarillo, Texas. She went by her middle name throughout her personal and professional life, and it was certainly as Fern that she was known during her 54 years in Missoula. Fern’s parents, Gertrude and W.T. “Shy” Morgan, had deep roots in West Texas, where Shy headed the Collingsworth County road department and drove the big Caterpillar maintainers to keep the Caprock roads clear. Later, he was the foreman of the Caterpillar repair shop in Amarillo, supervising the big equipment serving the roads of all the Panhandle. Continue reading Fern Hart dies

Glacier National Park 2023 “vehicle reservations” open February 1

Here we go again. As expected, “vehicle reservations” will be required to enter all areas of the park. But wait, there’s more: A separate reservation will be needed for each area of the park. And only the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor is a three day reservation; all others are good for only one day!

From the official press release . . .

Glacier National Park 2023 Vehicle Reservations
Open February 1
Reservations Required May 26 through September 10, 2023

WEST GLACIER, Mont. [January 30, 2023] – Glacier National Park reminds visitors that 2023 vehicle reservations become available on Recreation.gov starting February 1, 2023, at 8 a.m. Mountain Time.

Vehicle reservations will be available on Recreation.gov through two types of booking windows: approximately four months in advance and 24-hours in advance. The 24-hour advanced reservations will become available starting May 25 at 8 a.m. Mountain Time.

Reservations are required for Going-to-the-Sun Road west side entrances and the North Fork area May 26 through September 10, 2023, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations for Going-to-the- Sun Road are good for three days, and North Fork reservations are good for one day.

Beginning July 1 through September 10, 2023, a vehicle reservation will be required to access Going-to-the-Sun Road from the Rising Sun check point, six miles west of the St. Mary Entrance. Visitors will have access to the St. Mary Visitor Center and park shuttle outside of the vehicle reservation area.

New in 2023, one reservation per vehicle per valley will be required to access Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys on the east side of the park from July 1 through September 10 from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations on Recreation.gov open for these areas starting March 1, 2023, at 8 a.m. Mountain Time and are good for one day.

Each of the specified areas of the park will require a separate reservation. Visitors will need to set up an account on Recreation.gov to obtain reservations and are encouraged to do so prior to the day reservations open. The only cost associated with booking a reservation is a $2 Recreation.gov processing fee.

Visitors may also make a reservation through the Recreation.gov call center. Contacting the call center does not provide an advantage towards securing a reservation but provides an alternative for those who don’t have access to the internet or are not as familiar with technology. Call centers are open every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mountain Time and the processing fee remains $2. The following lines are available for callers:

Reservation line (Toll-Free) – (877) 444-6777
Reservation line (International) – (606) 515-6777
Reservation line (TDD) – (877) 833-6777

Below is a table of the block release dates and locations:
* During this time, it is likely only a portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road will be open. Check the park website for road status or to sign up for text alerts. Vehicle reservations are not required for any east entrances until July 1.
** Each valley requires a separate reservation

In addition to a vehicle reservation, each vehicle entering the park is required to have an entrance pass for any entry point into the park. These passes could include any one of the following: a $35 vehicle pass, good for seven days; a valid Interagency Annual/Lifetime Pass; or a Glacier National Park Annual Pass.

Visitors with lodging, camping, transportation, or commercial activity reservations within Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor, Many Glacier, or Two Medicine can use their reservation for entry instead of a $2 reservation to gain access to the portion of the park for which they have a reservation.

Landowners inside the park are not required to have a vehicle reservation to access their properties. Pursuant to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978, vehicle reservations are not required for tribal members throughout the park.

For more information visit the Glacier National Park website.

North Valley Rescue conducting annual winter training Saturday, February 4th

North Valley Rescue LogoNorth Valley Rescue will be conducting its annual winter training on Saturday, February 4th from 0800 to 1600. The training will occur mainly in the Trail Creek/ Kintla Ranch areas and possibly State Section 16. The plan is to conduct a simulated search in the morning and then snow/avalanche rescues and winter practice in the afternoon. 

If you have any questions please contact Mark at 406-890-5043 or m-mheaphy@hotmail.com

It’s that time again! Agency input for Winter 2023 Interlocal due Jan 24

Bob Dunkley explains Park plans for the Polebridge Ranger Station, post Red Bench Fire, at the 1989 Interlocal at Sondreson Hall.
Bob Dunkley explains Park plans for the Polebridge Ranger Station, post Red Bench Fire, at the 1989 Interlocal at Sondreson Hall.

Hi, folks.

The Winter 2023 Interlocal Agreement Meeting is hosted by the U.S. Forest Service at 10:00am, on Wednesday, February 8 at the Glacier Park Community Building in the park’s headquarters complex near the West Glacier entrance.

For those of you who are new to this, Interlocal meetings are held twice each year, winter and summer. These semi-annual get-togethers are intended to encourage open discussion between North Fork landowners and neighbors, and local, state and federal agencies. In other words, it’s a big deal if you have an interest in the North Fork.

As a convenience (it’s not required), I’m serving as a central point of contact for issues that North Fork organizations and individuals would like to see addressed by the various government agencies represented at the meeting. If you’ll send me your issues by noon on Tuesday, January 24, I’ll see to it that they get passed on to the various organizations in enough time for them to prepare their presentations. Please do not respond via Facebook or other social media. Use my email address, wkwalker@nvdi.com.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

Bill Walker