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Glacier sees uptick in August, year to date visitation

By Rebecca Vogt, KCFW Reporter, rvogt@kcfw.com
Published On: Sep 19 2013 10:05:12 PM MDT
WEST GLACIER, Mont. -

Glacier National Park is on track for one of it's busiest years, but how does the park keep up with the traffic?

Tad Labiuk of Alberta is no stranger to Glacier. He's been a visitor for nearly two decades and has seen more and more people attracted to the park's beauty.

"We were in Many Glacier for two nights and that campground was full every night. I couldn't believe it," said Labiuk.

We checked park statistics - 1,783,532 visitors passed through Glacier's gates from January to August this year. That's a 3.4 percent increase compared to 2012. But park officials tell us it's a big burden to keep up.

Park spokesperson Denise Germann said it's a challenge but credits a large, dedicated staff for daily maintenance of trails and facilities to keep the Crown of the Continent clean. Labiuk told NBC Montana he's noticed their efforts.

"The park has done great. They should be commended for their ability to look after the refuse and for handling the people," Labiuk said.

One big problem is cars - that's where the shuttle system came in. But now staffers say the free shuttles have done more than just clear congestion. Fewer drivers mean reduced emissions.

"I think that the shuttle system is the greatest thing the park has ever come up with," said Labiuk.

Though Germann said federal budget cuts chewed into visitor services, park workers are pushing to keep their park pristine.

"Most of the folks working here at Glacier have pride. Pride in their job and what they do here to take care of the great resources we have," said Germann.