Glacier will do ticketed entry

Spokesperson: ‘We’re going to be busy’

By: - April 2, 2021 1:48 pm

A view from the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park. Overall visitation dropped more than 50 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, according to a park spokesperson. But October hit an all time record. (Keila Szpaller/The Daily Montanan)

Motor travelers on Going-to-the-Sun Road across Glacier National Park will need to reserve a ticket this summer.

The park is using the $2 tickets to manage a record number of visitors in recent years and heavy traffic on the scenic roadway. Details about tickets are available here on the National Park Service website.

“We’re not trying to not be busy,” said Gina Kerzman, public affairs officer for Glacier. “We’re going to be busy. A ticket doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get a parking space either.”

Tickets are good for seven days at a time and required from May 28 through September 6, 2021. Visitors will need tickets if they’re getting on Going-to-the-Sun Road from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tickets aren’t needed in other areas of the park.

Kerzman said if the park didn’t start a ticketed system, people might hit the entrances on a busy day only to be turned around. A ticket will help alleviate that frustration, she said, especially after people drive through construction such as the work planned on U.S. Highway 2.

Starting April 29, people can hop on www.recreation.gov and buy a ticket for $2. A park pass also is required to get into Glacier.

Roughly two-thirds of the tickets will be available up to 60 days in advance, and one-third will be available a couple of days in advance to accommodate locals or more spontaneous travelers.

People walking or biking into the park won’t need a ticket. Kerzman said the tickets will help even out traffic and flatten spikes on warm sunny days before a long weekend such as the Fourth of July.

“We’re just trying to shave off those peaks, the tops of those peaks,” Kerzman said.

People who have other reservations in the park, such as at one of the campgrounds, lodges or chalets won’t need a separate ticket; their ticket for the day is included in their reservation, and proof of reservation will serve as the entry ticket. A photo ID also is required.

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Keila Szpaller
Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. In Montana since 1998, she loves hiking in Glacier National Park, wandering the grounds of the Archie Bray and sitting on her front porch with friends. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana. She worked there from 2006 to 2020. As a Missoulian reporter, she was named a co-fellow by the Education Writers Association to report on a series about economic mobility; grantee of the Society of Environmental Journalists for a project on conservation from the U.S. to Africa; and Kiplinger Fellow in Digital Media and Public Affairs Journalism. She previously worked at the Great Falls Tribune and Missoula Independent, and she earned her master’s in journalism from the University of Montana. She lives in Missoula with her husband, Brock, who is also her favorite chef, and her pup, Henry, who is her favorite adventure companion. She believes she deserves to wear the T-shirt with this saying: “World’s most mediocre runner.”

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