“We noticed they were going through Two Medicine at 10 am, until it was plugged up and closed,” said Peter Metcalf of the Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance, which has offices in Columbia Falls and East Glacier. “Then they would go to St. Mary’s and experience it for a few hours until the ticket period ended at 5 pm, then they would come back (west on Sun Road).”
Sun Road tickets restricted entry between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Glacier’s most popular highway through the Continental Divide. Last year, congestion on the dual carriageway and its parking lots forced park rangers to close the gates to West Glacier and St. Mary’s 28 times between June 8 and September 9.
“This year, the ticketed entrance has successfully dispersed the entry and exit patterns on Going-to-the-Sun Road during rush hour, allowing the west entrance to remain open during the main part of the city. the 2021 summer season, ”Glacier spokesperson Gina Kerzman said. an email. “Based on the number of vehicles arriving, in the absence of the ticketed entry system, the park most likely would have had to close the west entrance gate at least 35 times during the summer season. “
Paid entry ended on Labor Day. Mid-season traffic resulted in three closures on September 7, 8 and 14, Kerzman said.
Glacier officials plan to meet with park stakeholders to review how the ticketed entry policy works and its impacts on surrounding communities and businesses. The date of these meetings has not been fixed.