Friday, June 26, 2009

Going-to-the-Sun ...

If all goes as planned, the final segment of the Going-to-the-Sun Road across Glacier Park will open to the public for the season today. This year's opening is a couple of weeks later than usual, due in part to roadwork on the road's upper reaches ... but it's also pretty evident that the Park Service is less dedicated to maintaining public access to the road these days.

Anyhow, here's a photo I took near Logan Pass in late May 2005, back when the Park was more enthusiastic about a timely road opening. That's Mt. Reynolds in the background.


  1. Took a trip over the Sun yesterday and I wondered why it hadn't been opened sooner. ?? The snow drifts looked to be mid to late July in size. It must boil down to road construction, as they had completed some paving which was really nice. The west side looks to be destined for paving this summer so would look for delays on that side. Quite a few avalances in neww spots. Windy but a great drive which I never tire or year after year.

  2. I'm jealous of your drive ... I probably won't get up there for another month or so this year. I can't wait!!

    As for the late road opening, I know the road construction is part of the reason -- but it's only a part. Over the years, as park superintendents come and go, its easy to see that different superintendents place differing levels of importance on having the road open to the public. That's been confirmed to me by Park Service people, as well ...

  3. Well what a crock of dung !!! I guess if the road isn't opened then there is less work for the Park employees or does less tourist's mean less headache's. ?? The surronding business people usually holler pretty loud about late openings. I didn't hear much this year. What in your opinion Mark would be a "good" reason per a superintendent for not opening if it weren't snow???

  4. Oh, there are lots of reasons ... some of which maybe I shouldn't talk about here. But if the road is closed it means the park needs fewer law enforcement rangers to patrol it, and they don't need interpreters up on the pass. And in all the parks (Glacier included) there are employees who think that visitors shouldn't be encouraged or catered to at all, because visitors can damage the environment. There are some other things, too, that I won't say here.

    But as for GOOD reasons ... I don't think there are any. Most seasons, the park could have the road open by Memorial Day and keep it open till Thanksgiving if they really wanted to. But they just don't want to.

  5. Mark,I hear ya loud and clear. What a shame huh ? I feel it's a good thing that they built the Sun Road when they did because if they proposed it in today's "Can't do it" enviro mentality there'd be millions of people who wouldn't ever see that great country. You'll have to e-mail with your other reasons, would be interesting to hear. Jeff

  6. Yep, absolutely ... something like the Sun road could never be built today, and will likely never be built again. It's really too bad, and I say that even though I consider myself a pretty strong environmentalist.

    As for the other reasons, I think all I'll say is that employees working up on the road when it's closed naturally enjoy being "out of sight, out of mind."