WEST GLACIER – Even though Mother Nature hasn’t exactly been cooperating lately, crews are hard at work getting Glacier National Park ready for visitors.
Spring plowing operations started up last week and managed to plow to the camp store in Two Medicine and through Chief Mountain Road on the east side of the park.
Park officials say crews are now working on Many Glacier Road on the east side of the park and Camas Road on the west side of the park, as weather conditions allow.
The park is also using other snow removal equipment to remove snow from campgrounds and other visitor areas to speed spring melt.
Crews are also conducting routine plowing operations for areas typically open all winter, due to a spring season snowstorm that hit over the weekend. More snow is also in the forecast for later this week.
Crews working in Two Medicine last week noted that snow drifts were up to 15-to-20 feet deep, including road and picnic areas. The bathroom was completely covered. On average, plows encountered snow depths of seven-to-10 feet, according to park officials.
The east side of the park saw significant snow this winter. Numerous communities saw record or near-record snowfalls.
Next week, west side crews expect to begin plowing the Going-to-the-Sun Road between Lake McDonald Lodge and Avalanche, weather permitting.
Park officials note that some snow station observations are about 125% of a 30-year average. According to data recorded at the Flattop SNOTEL station, this is the most significant snow year since 2011.
The West Glacier Weather Station is showing approximately 127% of a 30-year average as of March 30, with this winter (in West Glacier) thus far being the eighth highest snowfall year since 1964.
Additionally, an annual manual snow survey conducted near Logan Creek in late February showed more snow that has been recorded anytime over the last 30 years, including years of heavy snow like the winter of 1997.