After a Year, Glacier National Park Reopens East Gate
For many, the Summer of 2020 will go down as the summer that never was. A combination of travel restrictions, social distancing, and many public facilities being closed, forced National park visitors to change their plans.
With vaccines being widely available, adventure seekers are chomping at the bit to hit the trails again.
If Glacier National Park is on your plans for this summer, we’ve got good news for you today!
East Gate Reopens at Glacier National Park
The Blackfeet Nation Council unanimously voted to reopen the East Gate to Glacier National Park, which has been closed since June 2020. With 95% of the Blackfeet Reservation having been vaccinated, the council moved the reservation to Phase 3 of their COVID-19 response plan.
The tribe will begin working with Glacier National Park officials and struggling local business owners during this re-opening.
The highest priority is the community remaining safe from COVID-19. This is exciting news for the local economy and tourists to the area.
Why This Matters?
The East Glacier is home to Glacier Park Lodge and St. Mary Village, both of which are upscale lodges.
Many of the incredible boat tours and rentals, road biking, and horseback riding came to a screeching halt when the gates were closed. Many of these attractions contribute to the 3+ million guests that visit the park annually.
The closure greatly impacted the East Glacier economy, but also caused severe congestion in other parts of the park. This congestion and closure was a frequent frustration for park visitors and park officials.
Opening the park will allow visitors to the park full access to the beautiful trails and roads that East Glacier has to offer. With a year of closures, this summer is bound to be a busy season for hotels and campgrounds in this area.
Despite the tribe’s decision to open the gate, some of the best campgrounds on the East side will remain closed. St. Mary, the largest campground on the east side, and Rising Sun Campground are not scheduled to open for Summer 2021.
Campgrounds facing issues with staffing during the unprecedented COVID While the popular campground at Many Glacier will have a modified reservation schedule, but will open for summer 2021.
Another great camping also can be found at the St. Mary/East Glacier KOA.
Tips for Visiting Glacier NP this Summer
The economy, especially businesses in East Glacier, has had a tremendously rough year. Some of the best ways to experience Glacier National Park this summer will be by supporting the local economy.
Whether it’s staying an extra night in one of the hotels or lodges, taking an excursion, or giving a generous tip to your tour guide, be generous while at Glacier this summer.
Not only should you be generous with tips and gratuities, but also with your patience. With travel restrictions being slowly lifted across the country, visitors will be flocking from all over the country to see Glacier National Park. Expect to see a slight increase in crowds and other excited visitors who have missed adventuring in this beautiful park.
Patience and flexibility seem to go hand in hand, especially when returning to normalcy from a pandemic. Be flexible with your plans, because they might have to change. You might not get to stay at the campground or lodge you want to. You might not get that dinner reservation when or where you wanted.
Being flexible allows you to comfortably adjust and still get to experience our nation’s breathtaking national parks.
Pro Tip: Here’s the best free camping near Glacier National Park.
Get your Glacier Road Trip Planned
We’re excited to hear about the opening of the east gate at Glacier National Park, and you should be too. As the nation starts to slowly return to normal, it’s an exciting time.
Take the proper precautions to help protect yourself and your loved ones so you can make memories together for years to come.
Do you plan to visit Glacier National Park this summer?
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