Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Reservation system untenable

| May 17, 2023 2:00 AM

I live directly across the North Fork from the park, and am a lifelong resident of the Flathead valley.  Members of my family have lived in, owned property in, worked for and recreated in Glacier National Park going back to before it was created. I and my siblings and families have backpacked, hiked, biked, paddled, fished, skied, as well as climbed scores if not more of Glacier’s peaks.  Unfortunately, under the “leadership” of the last couple of your predecessors, the park has become unwelcoming to us, and we have more or less been forced to carry out these activities elsewhere.

We started by avoiding the “silly season,” and were heavy users of the shoulder seasons.  You, however, continue to close more areas of the park, restricting reasonable access, and making it harder and harder for us to enjoy.

Your actions have succeeded in driving many locals away, ourselves included. 

My grandsons still enjoy the park, but you will succeed in driving them away as well, which is perhaps the plan in favoring tourists.

The park reservation system is a joke. 

Read the Hungry Horse New s— reservations sold out in 12 minutes and the website “doesn’t always work very well” to quote Chris Peterson, which is a bit of an understatement.  The recreation.gov website is a disaster, particularly for those of us in rural Montana whom have marginal internet access. 

 Increasingly, I have been forced to try to use recreation.gov to try to recreate on federal lands, and the experience has been error prone, time consuming, and the hassle has driven me away. 

And now, you are going to put the backcountry permit system on it?  I vehemently object!  It’s a bad idea and will not work.

Meanwhile, I would like to see an effort to welcome more locals, and an acknowledgment of those of us that have been long time users and supporters of the park.

Gary Saurey