[Cdt-l] My experience with Glacier Permits

Bruce "Buck" Nelson buck at bucktrack.com
Fri Feb 6 14:25:39 CST 2009

Before I left East Glacier, northbound in mid-September, I asked at the Park Service office if the Ranger station and store at Two Medicine were still open. I was told they were. Imagine my surprise when I arrived there and both were closed for the season. A friendly ranger told me I might be able to plead my case the next day and get a permit over the phone, since I'd already been through the Park Service bear presentations before.

The next day the ranger on the phone was not being very helpful. She insisted I had to go into St. Mary for a permit. As politely as possible I asked her to work with me because the reason I was on foot in Two Medicine with no permit was because the Park Service employees had given me bad info the day before, I'd already been through the Park Service bear presentations, etc. She was having none of it and made it clear she thought I was making it up when I said I'd been told the Two Medicine station was open. I admit it, that really made me grumpy. 

Five minutes after I'd gotten off the phone a Ranger appeared. The lady on the phone had correctly determined that I was strongly considering hiking without a permit. This new Ranger gave me the option of heading out and getting cited, or going to the Two Medicine Ranger Station, watching the bear film and getting a permit issued. An easy choice since that's what I had wanted all along. He and another Ranger were very nice once they saw that I preferred following the regs. My permit was checked at Waterton Lake so I'm glad I had one.

Two more things to be aware of in Glacier:

Many of the bear boxes are not mouse-proof. On my last night in the park mice destroyed much of my remaining food. Hang your food when possible instead.

Some of the campsites are dangerous. Some are in the middle of old burns with numerous dead trees well within reach of the site. Really asking for trouble, especially in the wind. Also many spots are in shallow depressions in packed dirt. Needless to say rain will, and did, pool there. At least twice I set up a short distance from the designated spot to avoid these spots and I'd do it again.

To me Glacier has more "WOWs!" per mile than any other stretch on the whole CDT.  Lots of well-marked trails and most Rangers are very nice indeed.



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