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Biking Glacier

A bicyclist travels on Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park in this file photo.

Glacier National Park adjusts for fall

Operations in Glacier National Park will start winding down as the autumn season approaches.

The park’s ticketed entry pilot program will end Sept. 6, as well as the park’s shuttle program. Park officials are expecting high visitation numbers in September. Visitors should prepare for temporary traffic restrictions at the west entrance due to congestion and Highway 2 construction delays.

However, construction will continue. There may be temporary closures of the west entrance due to congestion. Visitors can check the Montana Department of Transportation website (www.mdt.mt.gov/pubinvolve) for updates on Highway 2 construction.

All reporting on items such as campground availability, trail status, etc. are on Glacier National Park’s website(www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm). This service is not expected to resume this season.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is scheduled to remain open from Avalanche Creek to Jackson Glacier Overlook until Oct. 17, pending closures due to winter weather.

Construction will continue on Many Glacier Road causing 40-minute delays in both directions during the day and up to three hours at night. Starting Sept. 19, Many Glacier Road will be closed to the public for the year. Camas Road is also under construction causing 30-minute delays in both directions during the day.

Operating hours for visitor services in Glacier National Park including the park’s shuttle, campgrounds, backcountry permits, boat inspections, and concession operations will also begin to adjust.

The park is open year-round and recreational opportunities can be found during all seasons. For additional information, visit the park’s website or call park headquarters at 406-888-7800.

State finds 50th mussel-fouled boat

Watercraft inspectors at the Nashua station on Aug. 26 intercepted the 50th mussel-fouled boat this year, surpassing the 2020 total of 35 mussel-fouled boats intercepted.

The motorboat was traveling from Lake Erie to Kalispell. The inspection station on Highway 2 is operated by the McCone Conservation District under a contract with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Statewide, 94,800 watercraft inspections have been conducted this year, slightly down from the 112,300 inspections done by this time last year.

FWP reminds anyone transporting motorized or nonmotorized boats into Montana that an inspection is required before launching, and stopping at ALL open watercraft inspection stations is required. Failing to stop at an inspection station can result in a fine of up to $500.

Boaters should ensure their watercraft, trailer and all equipment that is in contact with water (anchor, lines, swim ladder, etc.) is clean, drained of water and dry.

Learn more at CleanDrainDryMT.com or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406-444-2440.

FWP biologists collecting wings

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologists will be collecting wings from hunter-harvested sage-grouse, mountain grouse and Hungarian partridge in several areas of southwest Montana.

They will use these wings to identify birds by species and age to help them monitor juvenile recruitment among game bird populations.

Wing collection barrels will be in various locations during the sage-grouse hunting season through Sept. 30. Hunters who come upon a wing collection barrel while hunting are asked to put only one wing from each harvested bird into the barrel. Wings can also be turned into area wildlife biologists or game wardens.

Hunters in the Big Hole Valley may also encounter sage-grouse hens wearing GPS devices as part of an ongoing research study. If one of these grouse is harvested, please return the device to FWP’s Butte-area wildlife biologist, Vanna Boccadori.

For more information, call 406-577-7900 to contact wildlife biologists Dean Waltee in Sheridan, Jesse Newby in Dillon, or Vanna Boccadori in Butte.

Warning for hunters during bow season

With bow season opening on Sept. 4, recreationalists are reminded to adhere to fire restrictions and area closures in place across Montana public land.

“Over 60% of wildfires in Montana are started by people,” said Montana Fire Restrictions Coordinator John Huston. “Please be aware that even with the recent rains we received at the end of August, many areas still have a moderate to high fire potential, have cumulative drought conditions built-up, and it is up to all of us to recreate responsibly and be aware of closures and restrictions in place on the lands we wish to spend time on.”

In Cascade County, an area closure is now in place for the Balsinger Fire just west of Neihart.

In Broadwater and Meagher counties, the Woods Creek Fire has both Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service area closures in place north of highway 12.

In Sweet Grass, Meagher and Park counties, a reduced area closure remains in place for the American Fork Fire on the Custer Gallatin National Forest, while a trail and road closure remain on the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.

The majority of land in Montana are under some spectrum of fire restrictions, whether Stage 1 or Stage 2. Please remember to know before you go – which restrictions are in effect for your desired area. Under Stage 1 standard restrictions, campfires are only allowed in designated metal fire rings. Visit: www.MTFireInfo.org for more information on current fire restrictions in place.

Visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/hlcnf/alerts-notices for more information on closures on the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest and on the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

Helena-area forests at Stage 1 fire rules

The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest have returned to Stage 1 fire restrictions as of Aug. 28. The forest had been under Stage 2 fire restrictions since July 31.

“Recent rains have helped reduce fire danger levels on the forest,” Acting Forest Supervisor Sara Mayben said. 

Visitors may use devices that are fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off, but only within an area that is barren or cleared of flammable materials within three feet of the device. Fireworks, explosives, and exploding targets are never allowed on federal lands in Montana.

Visit: www.mtfireinfo.org to learn more about fire restrictions in your area. Follow up on Facebook @HLCNF or our Twitter @LewisandClarkNF for the latest updates.

Science and History Week returns

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is hosting a second virtual Science and History Week live webinar series Sept. 13-16 at noon.

Parks Canada and the National Park Service have together hosted an annual Science and History Day since 2004. In 2020, the parks hosted the event as a four-day noon hour webinar series due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 450 participants from around the world learned about current research in the Crown of the Continent region. This September, the parks are again offering a free series of live webinars.

The series will highlight current natural and cultural research topics related to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and World Heritage Site. Each presentation will give viewers the opportunity to connect with park scientists and get a unique look at our partnerships, insights, and latest findings.

Please join us to learn more about the exciting research initiatives in the world’s first International Peace Park. Participants may register for presentations by filling out the online registration forms on the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center website at www.nps.gov/rlc/crown/index.htm.

For more information, call 406-888-7822.

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