Keila Szpaller

(Daily Montanan) Glacier National Park is increasing some frontcountry camping fees and adding early access lotteries for wilderness permits.

The park announced the changes this month in advance of the 2024 season and reservation openings.

Camping fee increases

Camping fees for some popular sites are going up $3 to $10 a night.

Those include peak seasons reservations at Apgar, Fish Creek, Many Glacier, Sprague Creek, and St. Mary, where fees will go from $23 a night to $30.

In Avalanche and Two Medicine, reservation fees will go from  $20 to $30.

At Bowman and Kintla, reservations will go from $15 to $25 for first-come, first-served sites in the peak season, and at Rising Sun and St. Mary, they’ll go from $20 to $30 for the same.

Glacier will continue to offer half-priced rates for interagency senior pass holders and lifetime pass holders.

Visitors can start making reservations Jan. 7, 2024 on recreation.gov.  See more information here on the discounts and also on additional fee changes.

“The law allows Glacier National Park to retain nearly 80 percent of fees collected in the park for use on projects that directly enhance the experience of park visitors and campers,” the park said in a news release.

Wilderness permit lotteries

Glacier is offering early access lotteries for wilderness camping starting in spring 2024 on recreation.gov.

Two early access lotteries will be available; one for standard groups of one to eight people and the second for large groups of nine to 12 people.

  1. Participants will be limited to a single reservation during the early access period but may create additional reservations during the general on-sale period beginning May 1 or by walk-in.
  2. On March 1, 2024, from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. mountain time (MT), lottery applications will be accepted for a chance to secure a large group (9-12 campers) advance reservation. A total of five large group advance reservations will be selected from all submissions.
  3. On March 15, 2024, from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. MT, lottery applications will be accepted for a chance to secure a standard group (1-8 campers) advance reservation. A total of 3,000 standard group advance reservations will be selected from all submissions.
  4. There will be a $10 non-refundable fee to enter each lottery regardless of success. Successful lottery applicants will not have to pay an additional permit fee to book their reservations because the $10 lottery application fee will rollover to become the permit fee for bookings.
  5. There will not be an option to apply for the early access lotteries via walk-in.

For additional details on when and how to make reservations, go to ​​https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/backcountry-reservations.htm.

After the lotteries, visitors will also be able to use the general on-sale system to book advance reservation campsites not booked during the early access lotteries. The general on-sale system will be the same system used in 2023 and will be available for the remainder of the booking window, from May 1 to September 30.

Approximately 30% of wilderness campsites parkwide will be available on a walk-in basis (day before or day of a trip start date) from May 1 through Sept. 30 at Wilderness Permit Office locations throughout the park; this is the same as the current system used for walk-in permits.

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