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.

NFLA President’s remarks at Lower North Fork Road Roundtable, Flathead Co. Fairgrounds, Oct 6, 2021

North Fork Road in Fall - USFS
North Fork Road in Fall – USFS

Commissioner Abell and Others:

For the record: Richard Hildner, President, North Fork Landowners Association, 350 Moose Creek Road, Polebridge, MT 59928.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak this afternoon. We applaud your effort to facilitate a multi-agency discussion on the North Fork Road and appreciate the opportunity to participate. The North Fork Community is no stranger to controversy when it comes to the North Fork Road. It was one of the topics at the inaugural meeting of the organization, June 2, 1947.

Because the subject is so divisive, the NFLA has refrained from taking a position on paving. We do, however, submit that regular maintenance and dust abatement are worthy of your attention. As an organization we are anxious to comment upon any alternatives you may develop.

It is clear from the record that any action beyond the status quo – i.e., grading and magnesium chloride – would necessitate multi-agency input, road design and costs, as well as environmental, social, and cultural considerations. This is consistent with the findings of the 2010 MDOT Corridor Study. Any consideration beyond the status quo, including the use of millings, must include cumulative and indirect impacts.

Speaking for the NFLA, we are in agreement that the North Fork Valley is a special place, valued for its remote nature, unique relationship with the local flora and fauna, and preservation of these characteristics is of the utmost importance.

Thank you for your time.

Richard Hildner
North Fork Landowners Association
PO Box 1603
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

Remarks in PDF format . . .

County to start grading/dust coating lower North Fork Road this week

“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” As part of the effort to fight the Hay Creek Fire, the Forest Service has come up with funding to grade and dust coat a particularly rough section of the North Fork Road.

According to a note from Travis Glidewell, Flathead County Road and Bridge Supervisor, the county is about to start grading and dust coating the North Fork Road between end-of-pavement and the Camas intersection. The prep work will be accomplished this week, with “dust oil” (i.e., magnesium chloride) being applied Saturday, July 31.

Scoping begins for North Fork Road easement near border

NF Road Easement Request - map

As some of you may recall from last summer’s Interlocal, Flathead County discovered, after 100+ years, that the North Fork Road has no official easement through a section of state land near the border. This means they have to buy access from Montana DNRC. *And* that means DNRC has to scope out the sale, including a public comment period. (They were going to ride the Forest Service’s coattails on this as part of the overall North Fork Road FLAP grant work, but USFS was moving too slowly.)

Anyway… Below are the materials DNRC sent out Friday, January 4. If you have any questions or comments on this proposed easement, please contact Dave Ring at or by calling 406-881-2663. Comments must be received no later than December 18, 2020 to be considered.

Cover Letter
Map of Requested Easement
General Area Map

Also, the Daily Inter Lake posted a good article on this issue: “Land Board to consider easement for North Fork Road project