RV Park Will Have Large Impact on Glacier Traffic

If the county commissioners do not respect the public’s comments regarding this issue, we should hold them accountable

By Michael Schwaller

This letter is in regards to the mammoth RV park in West Glacier proposed by Glacier Park Incorporated. I attended the Flathead County Planning Board meeting Wednesday, April 12. At this meeting GPI, a subsidiary of VIAD corporation of Phoenix, Arizona, stated their development would have minimal impact on West Glacier traffic.

GPI hired a Helena traffic engineer. Does he have experience running the West Glacier gauntlet in July? October traffic counts were presented. Yes, you heard that right, October data for a summer issue! The report also made no distinction between a Ford Fiesta and a 30-foot motor home pulling a trailer. Data regarding pedestrian and bike use was absent.

Since GPI presented inadequate data, the Board should not have approved this development. They dismissed the testimonies of the multiple residents that voiced their concerns. The only comment made in favor of the proposal was made by a person whose business is listed as partner on the GPI website.

As one reasonable board member stated, “This project will be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.” The biggest traffic issue is at the junction of River Bend Road, where the subdivision is planned. This road provides the only access and egress from the fire station, the medical clinic, the river access ramp, the golf course, and multiple homes and condos.

In the summer, vehicles leaving the park are a constant stream in the late afternoon. At the junction of River Bend Road, tipsy rafters, raft company buses (all have trailers), golfers, bikers, and pedestrians all create mayhem. Residents, attempting to turn left on to River Bend, may wait up to 10 minutes for a break in the traffic.

GPI is correct in stating they did not cause this problem; however, their assertion that their RV park will not make the problem worse is absurd. If the county commissioners do not respect the public’s comments regarding this issue, we should hold them accountable.

Please contact the Flathead County Commissioners office if you have observed difficulty at this intersection. Your voice should be worth more than the GPI’s disingenuous analysis.

Michael Schwaller