Still Too Soon to Bike, But Crews Make Progress Plowing Glacier
We're still weeks away from any of the Going-to-the-Sun Road being opened for public access. But Glacier National Park plow crews are making good progress this year, reaching an important landmark on the westside this week.
Every year, crews begin cutting away the tons of Montana snow that have piled up over the winter months, usually around the first of April, weather permitting. That starts an all-out effort to get the road open by early summer, something that typically happens before the 4th of July.
For the 2023 season, crews started plowing on April 5th, initially attacking places like Two Medicine, Chief Mountain Road on the northeast corner of the park, and Many Glacier. Crews were running into drifts that were 15-to-20 feet deep, but generally between 7-to-10 feet deep.
Crews have already made "The Loop"
Once work started on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, crews have made good progress on the west side, working up from Avalanche, reaching "The Loop" this week. That's the big turn where the road starts the main climb up to Logan Pass.
On the east side, the plow crew is still working along St. Mary's Lake.
It's probably going to be a few weeks before parts of the road may be open for biking or hiking. However, the continued construction around Lake McDonald will still keep public access restricted.
Battling heavy snowfall
Last year, a wet, cold spring slowed plowing operations, which have to take into account factors like avalanche danger and the alpine weather. It remains to be seen whether there might be weather delays this year.
The park has continued to see fresh snow in recent weeks. The automated weather station at Flattop showed snow levels were running at about 125% of normal, the most since 2011. A snow survey near Logan Creek in late February showed more snow recorded than at any time in the last 30 years.
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