WEST GLACIER — Glacier National Park is facing overcrowding issues after reopening to visitors last week.
Superintendent Jeff Mow attributes the high number of visitors to people wanting to get outside after the stay at home order due to the coronavirus.
"The demand was huge, no doubt about it," said Mow. "I think just about every day that first week we had to manage more congestion. Avalanche would fill up, we'd bump it back to Lake McDonald Lodge."
He explained that because of the virus, the park is already short-staffed this year.
"Because of the social distancing required with housing we can't bring on as many nearly as many staff as we normally do," Mow said.
He suggested to MTN News that visitors should come early morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds.
"If you happen to pull up into a parking spot at the same time as somebody else. Yeah, you may want to just sit tight until the other person is clear before you get out," explained Mow.
He also reminds visitors to always wear a mask when you can't properly social distance like if you're inside a gift shop.
Also, visitors need to be patient at some of the most popular spots in the park to keep yourself and others safe.
"Probably on some of the popular trails, some of the boardwalks, some of the key vistas that's where it might get a little more difficult or you have to be patient to wait your turn," Mow said.
Mow advised that if you're planning on visiting the park come with several options of things to do.
"We have to be adaptable, we have to be flexible," he explained. "I mean, if we get a series of infections in the park there's some parts of the park that may close. So, I mean, that's the reality we're in."
Mow says the park is taking reopening very seriously and one step at a time.
He added that the park is actually working with chambers in the area to promote other fun things to do in the Flathead Valley besides a visit to the park.