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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Glacier Park Considers Reservation System, Status Of East Entrance Unknown

Glacier National Park sign at the park's St. Mary entrance.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park sign at the park's St. Mary entrance.

Glacier National Park is considering a visitor reservation system to handle park congestion amid the coronavirus pandemic. Park officials are also working with the bordering Blackfeet Nation to reopen eastern park entrances that have been closed since last summer.

Glacier National Park spokesperson Gina Kerzman said there is no definitive timeline for when a decision on reopening the park’s eastern gates will be made.

"The Blackfeet tribe and the park are committed to finding a way to get the east-side entrances open," she said.

Blackfeet officials closed the reservation to tourists last summer over concerns of COVID-19 spread. Because the Nation stretches down Glacier's entire eastern border, the closure effectively shut the park's eastern entrances.

MTPR requested a comment from a Blackfeet spokesperson but did not hear back by deadline. 

It is unclear how operations on the east side of Glacier will work if gates along the Blackfeet Indian Reservation are reopened this season. The park is reconsidering a visitor reservation system to limit crowds, according to Kerzman.

The park considered implementing a ticketed system last summer but ultimately rejected the proposed mid-season change. Kerzman said the park will likely face congestion issues beyond the pandemic's effects: There are several road construction projects in the park as well as along its border.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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