Montana Public Radio

Going-To-The-Sun Road Management Plan Aims To Reduce Congestion

Sep 9, 2019

Glacier National Park’s new proposed management for Going to the Sun Road calls for increased shuttle bus service, bike access and a new 100-car parking lot. The plan was released Friday and its sole focus is reducing congestion as park visitation grows.

Glacier National Park Spokesperson Lauren Alley says park visitation has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past five years, but a good portion of that growth came between 2015 and 2017.

“We saw a 1-million-person increase between 2015 and 2017,” Alley said.

That’s a 40-percent jump, and in order to deal with that growth, the National Park Service wants to increase shuttle bus service and bike access to developed areas by attaching bike trailers to those shuttles. It even calls for converting some camping areas to parking during peak season.

“Thinking about how people find a parking spot, what peoples’ experience is like on the road, what peoples’ experience is like on some of our more busy trails, all of those things are in the plan,” Alley added.

Maybe the largest feature in the proposed plan is a 100-car parking lot that would be developed in an open field currently off an access road near West Glacier.

Public comments on the plan are due by Oct. 6 and the Park Service will hold a public meeting at Flathead Valley Community College on Sept. 17 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.