Friday, May 24, 2013

Rehabilitating the Going-to-the-Sun-Road

By Cassandra Sunell

On the Going-To-The-Sun-Road

If you have traveled along the Going-to-the-Sun road in the past several years, you may have noticed the improvements in the road structure, or maybe you just noticed the long construction delay. I can say that I have spent my fair share of time in construction delays on this historic road, and in most situations I would have moaned and groaned, but in Glacier Park, it's quite different and maybe even a little pleasurable.  In the past summer I had spent the delays sitting atop the newly built rock walls eating my lunch, taking pictures, and meeting other visitors who had traveled to visit the national park.  The park has essentially been my back yard all of my life, yet till, this park and those vistas never seem to disappoint...even when I'm stuck in construction traffic.  

My sister and I enjoying the view and lunch during a construction delay in the summer of 2012
My appreciation for the ongoing construction became a full appreciation, when I had an opportunity to attend a public meeting where Glacier National Park Landscape Architect, Jack Gordon and Federal Highway Administration Resident Engineer, Mike Baron discussed the extensive rehabilitation project and ongoing construction of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Turns out, the Road Rehabilitation Project for the Going-to-the-Sun Road was not intended to be a resting point for visitors to eat their lunch and communicate along the road, but was a greatly needed to be reconstructed to restructure the foundation, integrity, drainage, and safety of the road.  This all being done with the intent to try and keep the the historic integrity of the landscape architecture.

The project started back in 2006, and is estimated to to have cost between $150-$170 million when it is completed.  Construction has included compaction grouting under the roadway, where concrete is injected in columns and the ground is compacted surrounding these columns, installing drainage gutters, inlets, and culverts, building retaining walls and guard rails, and slope stabilization to control rock fall.   The designers and engineers collaborated to use stone masonry, that mimicked the original stonework to mask the complex stabilization and retaining improvements.   The construction crews face many challenges, including the very short construction period, harsh weather conditions, avalanches, rock slides, and the meandering wildlife, but they remain confident that they will have completed the project by 2017.

FHA Resident Engineer, Mike Baron discusses slope stabilization
The road is scheduled to open the 3rd week in June and typically closes the 3rd week in September, with the delays lasting anywhere up to 40 minutes if you happen to be stopped at both points of construction over the entire trek of the road from the east to west side of the park.  There are signs that do say to stay in your vehicle during delays, since the reloading is what will generally deepen the delay of travelers getting through the construction zone.  I did not recall seeing these signs before, but I did take note.

Yes, the construction will make most travelers moan and groan, because there are trails to hike, views to see, and agendas to fulfill, but please take the time to appreciate the views and the work that is being done here.  All the arduous work, so we don't compromise the safety of our travelers, and we can spend another 80 years traveling on the road to view the wonders of Glacier National Park, while still having the aesthetic feel it did 80 years ago when it was first built.  

Actual photo I snapped while in a construction delay

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

East Glacier in 1924

This week's Throwback Thursday is from East Glacier. Here's a picture of Glacier Park Trading Company and Mike's Place, before it burned down twice.  The first in 1924, and again in 1931. Glacier Park Trading Company still operates as a general store for East Glacier

Additional viewer information from Historian Ray Djuff:

The earlier picture, marked circa 1924, was, according to my records, taken on July 4 1924, and shows the original building, the LaPlante Pool Hall, that Mike Shannon bought from John Lindhe. Mike renamed the pool hall Mike’s Place. The 1924 fire occurred later in the month, after the photo was taken, so it is one of the last views of the hall before the fire.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Public Presentation on Road Rehabilitation

The public is invited to a free presentation about Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Project tomorrow night from 6-7:30pm at the Flathead National Forest Supervisor's Office at 640 Wolfpack Way in Kalispell. The presentation will go over information about the extensive rehabilitation of the Going-to-the-Sun-Road, including construction activity for this summer.

For more information about the program, contact the park at 888-7800.

Not Too Late to Spoil Your Mother

It's not too late to give your mother something special for Mother's Day. The Spa at Grouse Mountain offers massages, pedicures, facials, and more! View our full menu of services at:

The Spa at Grouse Mountain Lodge ads a touch of relaxation to this northwestern Montana gem. Whether you’re a Whitefish local looking to get away from it all or a guest in the hotel, our therapists will help you release any tensions from your day. 


  • Facials
  • Waxing
  • Massage & Body Wraps
  • Couples Room
  • Manicures & Pedicures
  • Gel Nails & Shellacs
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Spa Packages

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Trivia Answers

Here are the answers to the photo we posted on Monday. The placement of "G" was a little vague on the original post so this version split up G into two spots.

Thanks to everyone who posted guesses! We'll get some more of these coming up in the future.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Glacier National Park Trivia - View from Many Glacier Hotel

There are countless lakes, mountains, valleys, rivers, streams, trails, peaks, and other landmarks spread out across the over 1 million acres that make up Glacier National Park. How well do you know the park? Click on the above photo of Many Glacier Hotel and see if you can identify the seven things marked in the distance. Post your guesses in the comments below.

We'll post the answers for everyone on Wednesday morning right here on the blog.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Going-to-the-Sun Chalets and Boat Launch

Going-to-the-Sun Chalets and Boat Launch on St. Mary Lake, ca. 1914. Photograph by R. E. Marble.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tapas and Happy Hour - May 1 & 3, 2013

Swing by Logan's Bar and Grill in Grouse Mountain Lodge for Tapas and Happy Hour specials from 5pm-7:30pm every Wednesday and Friday. Here is the food lineup for this week.

Tapas Specials:
Crab Arancini-  Fried Risotto Balls Filled with Crab and served with Marinara  $8
Vegetable Flat Bread-  Sauteed Spinach, Caramelized Onion, Cherry Tomato Flat Bread Drizzled with Truffle Oil  $7
Braised Buffalo Pierogies - House Made Pierogies Filled with Braised Buffalo served with a saute of Bacon, Onion and Red Cabbage, topped with Tangy herb Sour Cream - $8
Fried Seafood Platter - Clam Strips, Calamari and Shrimp served with Cocktail Sauce and Tartar Sauce - $9

Drink Specials:
1/2-Price Well Drinks
$2 Glasses of House Wine
$2 Domestic Draft Beers
$3 Microbrew Draft Beers