Officials at Glacier National Park have decided not to implement a proposed ticketed vehicle entry system for the remainder of the summer.
After the Blackfeet Reservation decided to remain closed for the summer due to COVID-19, park officials began exploring the option of using a limited ticketed system for entry. Yosemite National Park began using a similar system this year.
The proposed ticketed entry would have limited the number of vehicles allowed through the park entrance each day between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Half of the tickets would have been available to reserve 30 days in advance and the remaining half available 48 hours ahead of time.
Since the park began to reopen on June 8, there have been high levels of congestion due to the singular entrance on the west side, as well as closures of the eastern half of the park. In recent days, parking at Logan Pass, Avalanche Creek and Bowman Lake have filled up by mid-morning.
“We heard support for a reservation system from community constituents because they know the park is at maximum capacity,” Superintendent Jeff Mow said.
Mow met with more than 100 businesses around the park to gather input on the proposed system, as well as conferring with officials at parks that had already implemented a reservation system, and ultimately decided against moving forward with the proposal.
“There were serious concerns about implementing such a system with such short notice and midway through the visitor season,” said Mow.
The park reminds visitors that summer is a busy season and that congestion is to be expected. Visitors can check the status of various locations in the park via the online Recreation Access Display, the park’s webcams and the park’s Twitter account.
“This continues to be a summer like no other. It is uncertain if visitation will continue to increase or how COVID-19 may require us to change how the park is managed for visitors,” said Mow. “As we have for the last several weeks, our goal is to provide the best visitor experience under these challenging and uncertain conditions.”