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New Visitor Center Planned For West Glacier

Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park.
Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park

A new visitor center will open in West Glacier this summer to encourage more tourists to visit the communities surrounding Glacier National Park. 

Whitefish Chamber of Commerce is taking the lead on the new visitor center, which is set to open July 1. Executive Director Kevin Gartland says this project is all about tapping into the pool of visitors during Glacier’s peak summer months, July and August."So the goal here is to capitalize and to make hay when the sun shines, right. Same philosophy different business, but it works here as well."

The old Belton train station will house the visitor center and will be staffed four hours a day, seven days a week.

Gartland says this year is just a trial run, to see what works and what doesn’t.

"Next year we are hoping we can staff it full time. Right now everybody has their budgets committed for the year and it is kind of come about, this opportunity, very quickly. So for right now we are going to take it and play it by ear a little bit and see when the demand is."

At this point, the Whitefish and Columbia Falls Chambers of Commerce are the only two involved with the project. But Gartlant is meeting with the Kalispell and Big Fork chambers Tuesday and  Thursday. Gartland expects all the communities in Flathead County to eventually take part of the project.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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