Saturday, June 25, 2022
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The test run

by CHRIS PETERSON
Editor | May 18, 2022 7:20 AM

So I did a test a week or so ago of the walking route I’ll have to take if I don’t have a ticket to get into Glacier.

Last year I got a few tickets, but I never went to Logan Pass, not once. The first time in 23 years. I must admit, I didn’t miss it. I really enjoy evening strolls on the Highline Trail, but I don’t enjoy crowds and with the way it’s set up now, the park is actually encouraging crowds in the evenings on the Sun Road.

I don’t know if there’s a “fix.” Some suggest we should dump the reservation system. I doubt that will work. Keep in mind Glacier still had 3 million visitors last year, even with a reservation system.

We keep spending money on tourism promotion and now we’ve made biking the Sun Road a destination event. With electric bikes making it all the easier, other than a significant Recession, I don’t see the dynamic changing. It used to be there were way more Montana plates in the park in the spring. Now it’s flopped. Many of the plates are out-of-state.

Having said all that, getting a reservation for the Sun Road hasn’t been all that difficult. The problem this year is that it’s a three-day pass, as opposed to a seven-day pass, so you kind of have to be on the ball to get a pass for every day of the week.

I’m not that on the ball.

So I have some gaps. Plenty of them.

Thus the test run of the access to the park, if I need to, without a reso.

The route is pretty simple. It takes me through park headquarters and then down the bike path. It took us about an hour to get the oxbow on McDonald Creek, and that included stopping to photograph a pine marten.

(As an aside, it’s been about three years since I’ve seen a pine marten. They really aren’t that common in the McDonald Creek Valley, at least not the lower elevations. This winter I cut, I think, one set of tracks.)

We did see some other interesting things along the route. There was a guy on a one-wheel (a device that kinda sorta looks like a skateboard, but with one wheel in the middle. They were designed specifically to break people’s elbows and arms) with a basset hound on a leash.

That was a first, and, now that I think about it, even rarer than a pine marten.

I not only saw the guy going out, I saw him going back.

I must admit, it looked like fun.

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