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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Visitor Numbers Remain High At Glacier National Park

Tourists at the Apgar Visitor Center in Glacier National Park.
GlacierNPS (PD)
Tourists at the Apgar Visitor Center

Fire managers in Glacier National Park say the fire burning there neither grew yesterday, nor did the amount of fire line constructed around it. The fire remains estimated at just under 4,000 acres in size and 67 percent contained.

Fire crews are shifting some of their efforts away from building new fire line to work on reducing hazards along Going-to-the-Sun Road. The Park Service has placed a priority on getting the closed half of the road on the park’s east side open as soon as possible. Going-to-the-Sun-Road is the park’s top tourist attraction, and the eastern half of it has been closed since the fire broke out July 21.

New figures show the fire didn’t have a huge impact on park overall visitation numbers in July. Although the Park’s St. Mary entrance saw a 20 percent dip in visitors in July, overall visitation to Glacier was only down one-half percent versus July last year.

And through July, overall visitor numbers for the park are up. Eleven percent more people came to the park versus the same period last year.

July and August are the peak months for visitation at Glacier National Park.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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