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Glacier Park to keep ticketed entry for 2022 season

Hungry Horse News | December 4, 2021 10:20 AM

Glacier National Park will require tickets to enter the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor in the 2022 summer season, park spokeswoman Gina Kerzman confirmed Friday.

The park is also exploring the possibility of a ticketed entry system for the Polebridge entrance up the North Fork, she confirmed, but cautioned that has not been finalized.

Last summer Glacier often had the entrance to Polebridge closed by early morning, as parking lots filled at Bowman and Kintla lakes. The park required tickets to enter the Sun Road corridor from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Kerzman said a final decision and plan for 2022 reservation system should be released in the coming days.

She said Park officials over the past few weeks have been meeting with stakeholders, such as area businesses and tourism officials, to talk about the 2022 plan. She said since it’s considered a pilot project, it will not be open to a public comment period.

However, she did say the park did not plan to require ticketed entry to eastern entrances of Glacier outside of St. Mary, like Two Medicine, Cut Bank or Many Glacier.

With the Many Glacier Road project being completed, traffic should be back to normal in that valley next summer.

Even without ticketed entry, Glacier often had to close east side entrances during peak hours during the summer because the parking lots would fill up.

Even with a reservation system in place, the park is on track this year to break or come very close to tying the most visitation ever.

October visitation numbers to the park showed about 155,000 visitors, a jump of 24% over 2020. It was the busiest October in Glacier’s history.

With November and December numbers yet to come in, Glacier is likely poised to break the record visitation it saw in 2017, when it totaled 3.3 million visitors, or come within a fraction of that.

November weather was unusually mild for the park and December has been mild as well. Weather makes a big difference in visitation, particularly in the shoulder season.