Crowded Glacier Entrances Have Visitors on Dangerous Backroads
For many Montanans, we are all too familiar with the backroads. Sometimes it is our way of escaping civilization for a short time. Spending time driving the winding, and seemingly endless, forest service roads. Knowing the minute we leave the pavement, that we need to be prepared for what could happen. For starters, there is little to NO cell phone service on the backroads. Meaning there is not many chances for you to simply call for help in the case of a flat tire or breakdown. Not to mention, Montanans are aware that the bumpy backroads are no place for a mini van or a sedan. 4 wheel drive trucks or SUVs have better equipped suspension to handle those bumpy roads. But, for someone from Los Angeles or Chicago, this knowledge is something they lack when leaving the pavement.
According to the Flathead Beacon
Glacier National Park’s ticketed entry system is driving hordes of ill-equipped visitors up the North Fork, a rugged and remote segment of the park where self-reliance was once a prerequisite.
North Fork District Ranger Jim Dahlstrom has heard the names “Bowman” and “Kintla” lakes mispronounced so many times he’s stopped correcting people, turning his attention instead to the more pressing business of parsing visitors — sizing them up and winnowing the self-reliant from the totally helpless.
Since Glacier National Park has implemented the ticketed entry system at some of it's most popular entrances, more and more visitors are looking for other options. Meaning more and more rental cars are found wandering the backroads around the park. Led by their vehicle's GPS systems, unprepared visitors are risking being marooned in the off grid areas surrounding the park. Not to mention crowding unprepared places like Polebridge, MT. The current infrastructure of places like Bowman Lake cannot handle the traffic that is being seen this season, and has been closed multiple times.
Glacier National Park is literally bursting at the seams with visitors. Since 2 entrances to the park don't require the ticketing system, people are flocking to them. Risking their vacation time being gobbled up waiting to be rescued while on an unprepared backroad goose chase. GNP officials are even considering the ticketing system on entrances like Polebridge and Many Glacier, if the traffic continues to increase.