Montana Public Radio

Glacier National Park

You May Be Tough, But You're Not Tardigrade-Tough

Jun 9, 2020
Dr. Diane Nelson, N.P.S. (PD)

It’s early summer time in the Northern Rockies, a time for some bears to go into a hibernation-like state.  Yes, you heard that right: bears that hibernate in the summer.  What kind of bears are these, you might ask?  They are the waterbears, also known as tardigrades.

Sign saying "Welcome to Blackfeet Indian Country."
Will Marlow (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Blackfeet Tribe last week took a step toward lifting restrictions put in place amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The tribal business council canceled the Blackfeet Reservation’s stay-at-home order and non-essential travel restrictions.

Glacier National Park entrance sign.
Flickr user photommo (CC-BY-ND)

Glacier National Park announced Tuesday it will reopen the western portion of the park to visitors June 8.

Eastern gates on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation will stay closed as COVID-19 restrictions there remain in place through the end of the month.

A grizzly bear visiting a wire hair snag station near Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park (PD)

As bear activity is picking up across northwest Montana, grizzly bear managers are juggling the uncertain and unexpected impacts of COVID-19 on wild places.

On Friday, state, federal and tribal wildlife officials met remotely over Zoom for their semi-annual meeting. The group discussed how to manage the largest grizzly populations in the lower 48 states – the bears in and around Glacier National Park.

Researchers survey for stoneflies in the backcountry of Glacier National Park, Sept 1, 2019. Two species of stonefly were listed as "threatened" due to warmer water, drought and diminishing meltwater from vanishing glaciers.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

Aquatic insects living at high elevations in Glacier National Park may be more resilient to impacts from climate change than was once thought. That's according to a study published this week. Populations of various other species are still expected to decline and potentially go extinct.

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

Glacier National Park expects to open its gates to visitors some time in early June, but what services visitors will be able to access it is still undecided.

Area Closed sign and barricade in front of a national park sign.
Breanna McCabe / MontanaPBS

The National Park Service is beginning to test public access in some of its parks across the country, and Yellowstone National Park will allow visitors to enter the park through its Wyoming gates beginning Monday, May 18. Glacier National Park remains closed, but both parks prepare to open access in Montana in the coming weeks.

A small airplane coming in for a landing
iStock

The federal appeals court in Washington D.C. ordered the National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration last week to craft management plans for flight tours in Glacier National Park and 22 other national parks within the next two years.

The weeping wall on Glacier Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road.
David Restivo, NPS (PD)

Glacier National Park has awarded a new contract for its popular shuttle service. This comes after Flathead County canceled its contract with the park, claiming it wasn’t paid enough to supply drivers.

Big Larch Campground on the Lolo National Forest.
Lolo National Forest

National forests in Montana are shutting down developed recreation sites in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visitors can still recreate on most those federal lands, but should not expect any amenities.

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