Timed tickets to handle traffic on Glacier Park’s Sun Road

HELENA, Mont. (AP) – Montana Glacier National Park will once again implement a timed entry system next summer – from Memorial Day weekend to after Labor Day weekend – to manage traffic on the Going-to-the-Sun Scenic Drive, park officials said Monday.

The park first used a ticketed entry system this year to distribute traffic across the popular Alpine Highway, when more than 3 million people have visited. Going-to-the-Sun Road takes visitors on Logan Pass on the Continental Divide, at an elevation of 6,646 feet (2,026 meters).

One ticket per vehicle will be required to travel on Glacier’s Going-to-the-Sun Road from the West Entrance and New Camas Entrance from May 27 to September 11. Tickets will not be required at the St. Mary’s Entrance on the east side of the park until the Sunshine Route is fully open, which is usually at the end of June.

2022 admission tickets will be valid for three days instead of seven, as they were this summer, and could lead to more tickets being sold, park spokeswoman Gina Kerzman said on Monday.

Park officials expect to have about 4,600 vehicles a day on the Going-to-the-Sun Highway, spread over the day. There will be times outside of rush hour when entrance tickets are not needed, but those times have not yet been fixed, Kerzman said.

In addition to timed entry tickets, which can be booked for $ 2 after creating an account on Recreation.gov, visitors must have an entry pass. Seven-day vehicle passes cost $ 35. People can also enter with an annual park pass or an annual or lifetime interagency pass.

The park anticipates that a portion of the 2022 admission tickets will be available online in early March.

Tickets will also be required to enter the northwestern part of the park at Polebridge in 2022. The Polebridge entrance was closed at some point every day last summer due to a lack of parking at Bowman Lakes and Kintla and a limit on the number of visitors allowed to the area, park officials said.

The Polebridge entrance leads into the rustic North Fork area of ​​the park, where travel is on rough roads and there are no modern conveniences, including cell phone service. Four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles and the ability to change a tire are recommended for visitors to North Fork, the National Park Service said.

Tickets will not be required at other eastern entrances, including Two Medicine and Many Glacier, but entry will be restricted when those areas reach capacity, park officials said. People are encouraged to schedule their visits outside of peak hours, which are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Other national parks are also struggling to manage the increase in visitor numbers.

Arches National Park in Utah announced last week that it will implement a timed entry system next year while Zion National Park is holding a lottery for reservations to hike a popular trail.

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