Glacier Park

Podcast: Off the Grid and Overrun

Flathead Beacon assistant managing editor Tristan Scott traveled to the North Fork to visit Polebridge and see how the small hamlet and rural entrance station to Glacier National Park is handling record visitation

By Micah Drew

“They’re left asking questions with a very rudimentary grasp of what the section of the park holds, and it’s a wild chunk of country up the North Fork.” ~ Flathead Beacon assistant managing editor Tristan Scott

Glacier National Park covers nearly a million acres of land, and yet there are only six entrances that lead to the interior. Three connect to the iconic, 50-mile long Going-to-the-Sun Road, which bisects the park between West Glacier and St. Mary. On the eastern side, entrances at Two Medicine and Many Glacier off visitors access to some of the most picturesque spots in the Park and here on the Western side, the alternative to the Going-to-the-Sun is a primitive entrance, 20 miles north of West Glacier in Polebridge.

With a ticketed reservation system in place to access Going-to-the-Sun Road, many visitors have funneled to the less obvious Park entrances, oftentimes unprepared for a different park experience than driving a scenic bypass. Last week, assistant Managing editor Tristan Scott spent a day in Polebridge to get a read on how rangers, business owners and visitors were handling the record numbers of newcomers.

Later, host Micah Drew runs through the biggest stories from the last seven days, including the continued spread of COVID-19 among unvaccinated individuals, preliminary discussions among Kalispell city officials about marijuana dispensary zoning, a proposed new conservation easement near Libby and a fatal grizzly attack.

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The music in this episode is “Thinking Music” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License.