WEST GLACIER (AP) – Glacier National Park will start a limited reopening for visitors next week following the northern Montana park’s closure in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The park will reopen its west gate entrance at West Glacier next Monday and it will be open until 4:30 p.m. each day, according to a statement Tuesday from Jeff Mow, the park’s superintendent.
Visitors will be able to access Apgar and Going-to-the-Sun Road as far as Lake McDonald Lodge. Hikers and bikers will have additional access as road conditions allow. Visitors will also be able to use restrooms and trails that are accessible from open park roads.
“We understand the economic importance that Glacier has to our gateway communities,” Mow said in the statement. “Our goal is to gradually provide visitor access and to mitigate for and respond quickly to any new infections should they occur.”
Visitor centers, ranger stations and overnight accommodations will remain closed and no backcountry permits will be issued. Hotels, full-service dining, commercial tour buses and ranger programs will reopen when health conditions allow, park officials said.
The park is encouraging the use of masks or facial coverings when social distancing is not practical. There will be signs reminding visitors of ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and park staff will be cleaning facilities more often.
The east entrances to the park will remain closed because the neighboring Blackfeet Indian Reservation has coronavirus restrictions in place through June 30, Mow said.