Montana Public Radio


Business owners in one of Yellowstone National Park’s most popular gateway communities say the peak summer season has been busier than ever with more visitors. At the same time, a shortage of workers is affecting how many tourism dollars they can rake in.

At Tumbleweed Books and Cafe in Gardiner, people line up to order smoothies and iced coffees. Owner Anna Holloway finishes wrapping an egg burrito and takes a quick break.

“This is hands down the busiest summer I’ve seen in the 15 years that I’ve lived here and the 12 years that I’ve owned the Tumbleweed,” Holloway said.

Canoe paddles

For the first time in the 75-year history of Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp, the paddles that propel canoes, kayaks and paddleboards around the lake are clean. After every outing, used paddles are placed in the oar equivalent of a laundry hamper, wiped down and sanitized.

Glacier National Park's Logan Pass Visitor Center on a busy summer day.
Tom Westbrook (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

Glacier National Park officials have decided against putting in place a reservation system for Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Earlier this month, Glacier Superintendent Jeff Mow held a series of meetings to discuss the idea of a reservation system for the park’s main attraction, Going-to-the-Sun Road.

This undated photo show Red's Blue Goose Saloon in Gardiner, MT. The saloon was destroyed due to a July 15, 2020, fire, along with several other buildings in the town.

A fire destroyed several businesses in the Yellowstone National Park gateway town of Gardiner, just six weeks after Montana entrances to the park reopened from a closure prompted by the novel coronavirus.

The Tuesday fire destroyed the Two Bit Saloon, Yellowstone Raft Co., Rosie’s Bistro and Red's Blue Goose Saloon, officials said.

Montana’s Democratic candidate for governor today unveiled a plan he says will protect public lands and access to them.

Current Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney’s “Protect the Last Best Place” plan doesn’t include new proposals but instead reiterates support for existing state programs, laws and policies, like those related to stream access.

A newly formed group in southeast Montana is drumming up support to add and improve river access, camping and roads along more than 160 miles of the Yellowstone River.

The Lower Yellowstone River Coalition formed earlier this year to support economic development and expand tourism along the river corridor east of Billings.

Yellowstone National Park said Monday it hosted over half a million visitors in June. That’s around one-third less than the same time in 2019.

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

Glacier National Park plans to open up the alpine section of Going-to-the-Sun Road next week. Most of the road will be open to visitors.


Watercraft inspectors in Montana have intercepted a record number of boats carrying invasive mussels this season.

Hospitality Industry May Suffer From Foreign Visa Suspension

Jul 6, 2020
Downtown Whitefish, MT.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

After hosting exchange students from all over the world for the last 15 years, Whitefish resident Sue Moll will have a much quieter house this ski season.

Every year, Moll hosts foreign J-1 visa workers who travel to the U.S. to work at Whitefish Mountain Resort (WMR) as part of a cultural exchange, but the resort won’t be able to hire those employees for the 2020-2021 season.

After the Trump administration suspended some foreign worker visas until at least the end of the year, including the J-1 visa, a number of businesses in the Flathead Valley’s hospitality industry will not be able to utilize foreign workers that they typically hire seasonally.