The Apgar Visitor Center in Glacier National Park has undergone a significant remodel and the enhanced facility will be unveiled this weekend at a new location.
The upgraded center will open in the existing Apgar Transit Center facility on Saturday, May 17 at 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The new location will be identified as the Apgar Visitor Center and provide visitor information services, pick-up and drop-off services for the park’s shuttle system and concession-operated tour and transportation services, retail sales managed by the Glacier National Park Conservancy and restroom facilities. The site will be able to accommodate roughly 2,000 people a day.
The new location of the Apgar Visitor Center is located at the T-intersection roughly 1 mile north of the West Entrance Station on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
An enhanced visitor and discovery center near Apgar has been talked about for over 15 years, the first step of which is finally being realized through commitment on the part of Glacier National Park and the Glacier National Park Conservancy, working in partnership
with a number of private companies.
“The Conservancy has been instrumental in working with their donors to provide engineering and design expertise, materials and labor to retrofit the facility to serve as the Apgar Visitor Center,” Superintendent Jeff Mow said.
Mow said he was impressed with the assistance from several local and regional businesses and appreciates the Conservancy’s leadership with this project.
Swank Enterprises led the construction effort, donating all time and expertise to the project, according to the Conservancy. Kalispell Regional Medical Center offered to build the cabinetry and the new sweeping visitor information desk, all of which has been custom built in KRMC’s carpentry shop. KRMC was able to solicit additional donations from Valley Glass, Sherwin Williams, Western Building Center, and Dupont Corian to cover and stain the desks and cabinets. Plum Creek donated most of the specialty wood for the project, including material for all of the cabinets and visitor information desk. The building is recognized as LEED Gold Certified.
“This project is a great example of folks coming together to leverage private resources to the greater benefit of Glacier National Park,” Glacier Conservancy President and CEO Mark Preiss said.
In January, Glacier National Park Conservancy released a new strategic framework, guiding philanthropic and outreach activities in partnership with Glacier National Park over the next three years.
The small building that housed the visitor center in Apgar Village will have public restroom facilities available, but the main building will be closed. An analysis to determine the future use of that facility will begin later this year, according to the park.
The park’s general management plan from 1999 identified the construction of a west side Discovery Center and Museum, but a lack of funding prevented such a facility. In 2007, the Apgar Transit Center was constructed to serve as a transit staging area and facilitate visitor access and orientation along the Going-to-the-Sun Road during road rehabilitation. It has been the park’s intention to relocate the existing west-side visitor center operations from Apgar Village to this area. To accommodate increased visitor use at the site, the parking area is being expanded, per an environmental assessment completed in 2012.
The park hosts three visitor centers, Apgar, St. Mary and Logan Pass. The opening and closing dates and times are as follows:
Apgar Visitor Center
May 17 – June 13: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
June 14 – September 1: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
September 2- October 5: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
October 6 – Spring 2015: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday/Sunday Only
Logan Pass Visitor Center
As snow and road conditions allow – September 1: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
September 2 – September 21: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
St. Mary Visitor Center
May 24 – June 28: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
June 29 – August 16: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
August 17 – October 5: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
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