Corridor Management Plan

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zozeppelin
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Corridor Management Plan

Post by zozeppelin »

I completely missed this between the news on the east side and backcountry permit frenzy, but while I was looking for something else on the nps site I stumbled upon news that park approved a plan of proposals: Link .

This is a lengthy document, including revisions and FAQs. These are all listed as tools and to be used if necessary. The things that stood out to me after a brief skim:
  • Beyond a GTTSR permit system, they are also considering it for trails such as Siyeh, Highline, Avalanche, HIdden Lake, etc
  • There are metrics for cars they have on the road in general as well as each parking lot - People at one time (PAOT)
  • Adding bathrooms for Preston Park(Siyeh), Haystack (Highline) and Hidden Lake
  • Modify shuttle stops based on usage - presumably reduce for 'lower levels of usage', they specifically mentioned Siyeh
  • Prohibit overnight (backcountry) parking along GTTSR
  • Expanding parking lots at St Marys
  • Many references to guided tours and group size- seems to infer this is a root issue
  • Considered adding trails, but ultimately didn't due to resource limitations: Siyeh to Lunch Creek to Logan Pass. Others interesting ones were listed in the FAQ: "Sun Point, Heaven’s Peak Lookout, Triple Falls, Logan Pass double waterfall, Hidden Lake to Dragon’s Tail, Hidden Lake to Sperry Trail, Lunch Creek to Piegan Pass, Siyeh Pass to Otokomi Lake, Lake MacDonald, Ole Creek, Harrison Lake, Alder Trail and Lost Lake."
A lot to unpack here. I guess this has been in the works for awhile (document amended from 2019, but project started in 2014/5 it appears).

Interested to hear others thoughts on these items.

The only comment I'd have is I understand the reason to limit backcountry overnight parking, but there better be a reasonable alternative for those looking to get an early start on their first day or a reliable exit on their last day (thinking dedicated bus(es) or priority in the morning for dropoffs and dedicated bus in the evening for pickups).

PeteE
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Re: Corridor Management Plan

Post by PeteE »

zozeppelin wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:38 am
I completely missed this between the news on the east side and backcountry permit frenzy, but while I was looking for something else on the nps site I stumbled upon news that park approved a plan of proposals: Link .

This is a lengthy document, including revisions and FAQs. These are all listed as tools and to be used if necessary. The things that stood out to me after a brief skim:
  • Beyond a GTTSR permit system, they are also considering it for trails such as Siyeh, Highline, Avalanche, HIdden Lake, etc
That will suck. How will they enforce that policy? They don't have the manpower right now to enforce the current polices.
As I say below, What if I want to begin one of those popular hikes at 0400, or even earlier? I did that a few times last year, and I intend to do it this year to get to some places for sunrise photos. And yeah, hiking in the dark is riskier, but it's a risk I'm willing to take.
  • There are metrics for cars they have on the road in general as well as each parking lot - People at one time (PAOT)
Same question. How to they enforce this policy?
  • Adding bathrooms for Preston Park(Siyeh), Haystack (Highline) and Hidden Lake
Good! Long overdue
  • Modify shuttle stops based on usage - presumably reduce for 'lower levels of usage', they specifically mentioned Siyeh
I'm not sure I understand what they mean pertaining to Siyeh. Siyeh Bend is a very heavily used parking area and busy shuttle stop ...imo anyway. Maybe their stats say otherwise.
  • Prohibit overnight (backcountry) parking along GTTSR
This really SUCKS. And again, how will they enforce this policy? What will they do about those of us who want to begin a hike VERY early. Say I want to start on the Siyeh/Piegan Pass trail at 0300? Or maybe I'm late getting back from some hike arriving well after dark?
  • Expanding parking lots at St Marys
Good idea.
  • Many references to guided tours and group size- seems to infer this is a root issue
Who are they talking about? Outfits like Sun Tours that come in those mini buses?
  • Considered adding trails, but ultimately didn't due to resource limitations: Siyeh to Lunch Creek to Logan Pass. Others interesting ones were listed in the FAQ: "Sun Point, Heaven’s Peak Lookout, Triple Falls, Logan Pass double waterfall, Hidden Lake to Dragon’s Tail, Hidden Lake to Sperry Trail, Lunch Creek to Piegan Pass, Siyeh Pass to Otokomi Lake, Lake MacDonald, Ole Creek, Harrison Lake, Alder Trail and Lost Lake."
Some of those would require a lot of work over several years. And they would need to beef up their SAR team(s) 8). I can see people getting lost and or hurt on a few of those routes. Some may think I'm being "judgemental" and I suppose I am. However, I've seen a lot of dumb-ass people and behavior on the current trails.

A lot to unpack here. I guess this has been in the works for awhile (document amended from 2019, but project started in 2014/5 it appears).

Interested to hear others thoughts on these items.

The only comment I'd have is I understand the reason to limit backcountry overnight parking, but there better be a reasonable alternative for those looking to get an early start on their first day or a reliable exit on their last day (thinking dedicated bus(es) or priority in the morning for dropoffs and dedicated bus in the evening for pickups).
Yeah, I think they want to save the parking spaces for "day use". That's fine, however I agree with you, "How will they handle backpackers getting to their trailheads for an early start?"
Current shuttles don't start until 0700. 0700 is 2 HOURS after sunrise during mid summer. Many, maybe most, backpackers want an early start, not 0900 which could be the case if they disallow backpacker parking on the GTTS road. I don't like this proposal at all.
pete :wink:
"If you are not curious, you will learn nothing" -Goethe-

"When you're born in this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show.
And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

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Sue Z
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Re: Corridor Management Plan

Post by Sue Z »

zozeppelin wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:38 am
  • Prohibit overnight (backcountry) parking along GTTSR
That would be a deal-breaker for me. Jeepers, the planning and logistics are hard enough already. What a miserable idea.
Sue Z

zozeppelin
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Re: Corridor Management Plan

Post by zozeppelin »

Saw this article in the hungry horse news - link. Pretty cool project and interesting data.

The link in the article didn't work for me, this one did.

I'll pick on Siyeh Bend, because that was the surprise addition (to me) to the controls measures list (including Avalanche and Hidden Lake). Here are the per day averages for Siyeh:
2012: 117
2013: 90
2014: 98
2015:
2016: 114
2017: 128
2018: 104
2019:

I'd call that steady. I'd speculate there is some double counting too the way the system works, with people from both Siyeh Bend and Sunrift Gorge.

Some other observations:
  • 7650 hikers per day average the last 3 full years (2017-2019), up from 6000 in 2016.
  • About 40% of those were from Hidden Lake and Avalanche.
  • Add St Mary Falls and Highline to those, and it's 60%.
  • They started tracking in 2012, but brought a second batch online in 2016. The like for like from 2012 to 2019 is 3900 to 5830.
  • The surprise for me was seeing the Loop to Granite Park being so relatively popular (almost half as popular as the highline), but again this could be counting nuances where people going one-way highline to granite park to loop.
Last edited by zozeppelin on Thu May 27, 2021 7:24 am, edited 4 times in total.

Selkie
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Re: Corridor Management Plan

Post by Selkie »

Thanks for posting the link!

I see the numbers for Siyeh for 2015 and 2019 listed as "N/A" (counting was not done).
But your point is well taken, here at least.

zozeppelin
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Re: Corridor Management Plan

Post by zozeppelin »

Good catch - updated.

It would be interesting to know how many of the hikers parked vs took shuttles to the various trail heads. Also average # of people per cars. This is all relating to the parking situation.

There also is pretty simple technology to look at video feeds (parking lot) and count parking duration. That would be interesting to see at Logan Pass.

My gut feel was that people just drive the road and hit the short highlight hikes. I think this data supports that.

I truel think the solution here is a higher capacity (frequency) shuttle system, such that it is a no-brainer for the typical tourist to take the shuttle and avoid the parking pinch points. Perhaps that in conjunction with passes for driving the road and/or parking, which would be rigidly ($$$) enforced.
It will cost a lot of money to increase the size of the fleet and attract/retain good drivers, but that seems to be the only solution that meets the needs of the visitors and the infrastructure limitations. Then the only remaining concern would be trail congestion, which clearly has gotten worse over the years, but is it any worse than Yellowstone, Zion, or Yosemite to name a few?

PeteE
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Re: Corridor Management Plan

Post by PeteE »

A friend of mine who is coming out this summer has the same concerns we all do regarding the shuttle system and its management.
He wrote to the GNP management expressing his concerns. Here is the answer he received:
"Thank you for your input. The park considered many options for how to best utilize the shuttles this summer with limited seats available, and it was determined that the best use is to prioritize getting people to and from Logan Pass. We realize it's not ideal for hikers, but we just don't have the capacity to make it the perfect system right now. You might consider hiking the Highline out and back -Haystack Butte makes a good turnaround spot for a nice day hike.
I doubt anyone on this chat site likes the answer. I certainly don't.
While hitching works for me, it doesn't work for 99% of visitors.
So this current policy is going to make it really tough for hikers and backpackers who need a "shuttle".

I will also speculate that if "hitchhiking" becomes popular, the park will ban hitching.
They will say lots of people standing along the roadway will create problems for traffic---and they are right because most people don't know how to hitchhike safely and responsibly.

So there you go. Have a nice day 8)

pete :wink:
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Re: Corridor Management Plan

Post by Selkie »

Move Logan Pass to West Glacier.
Throw in some mountain goats in a petting zoo.
Done and dusted. :D

zozeppelin
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Re: Corridor Management Plan

Post by zozeppelin »

Thanks Pete - always appreciate the local insight.

I think it will be interesting to see how flexible and responsive GNP is as the summer goes on. I completely understand and appreciate the desire to make a plan compatible to the current conditions - but those are rapidly changing.

Just this month the Federal Government / NPS announced masks not required for those vaccinated in National Parks: Link

Presumably if things keep trending on their current path, most everything will be fully open - will GNP adjust and accommodate? Go back to normal shuttle occupancy? Resume service to trailhead stops?

For instance, Zion just dropped their ticket requirement for the shuttle system: Link, which admittedly is open air, but still shows some forward action. They also just received $33M to update their shuttle busses, Link - where's the money for GNP?

Probably should just skip over this option due to practicality, but Yellowstone and Tetons have a system in place where if you are vaccinated or have a negative Covid test, the bus can operate at 100% capacity, otherwise needs to be 50% capacity.

zozeppelin
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Re: Corridor Management Plan

Post by zozeppelin »

So I completely missed that shuttle passes went on sale June 1st for the entire season (I thought it was for 60 days in advance). Of course they are sold out for morning departures.

Here is an article with an update on status: link.

Interesting:
The Two Medicine, Many Glacier and Polebridge areas may experience traffic restrictions due to congestion.
So I think those additions to the GTTSR ticketed entry cover all areas - everything can be restricted, great. Polebridge and Two Medicine don't even have construction planned: link.

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Re: Corridor Management Plan

Post by teapot57 »

Interesting:
The Two Medicine, Many Glacier and Polebridge areas may experience traffic restrictions due to congestion.
This has always been the case. Those areas close when the parking lots fill.

PeteE
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Re: Corridor Management Plan

Post by PeteE »

Time will tell, but the hassles of the Sun Road and construction on the Many Glacier Road are bound to drive more traffic into the other areas like Polebridge, the North Fork area, and Two Medicine.

pete :wink:
"If you are not curious, you will learn nothing" -Goethe-

"When you're born in this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show.
And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

George Carlin

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