Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Pursuit to begin phased reopening of Glacier lodges, businesses

by Kianna Gardner
Daily Inter Lake | May 28, 2020 10:21 AM

Pursuit, a company that owns and operates a handful of lodging, culinary and retail experiences in and around Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park, announced on Thursday that a phased reopening of its facilities within its Glacier Park Collection will begin June 1.

The company temporarily suspended its operations in March and delayed seasonal openings to support the public health response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The gradual reopening will begin with the West Glacier RV Park on June 1, followed shortly by the Glacier Basecamp Lodge on June 4 and West Glacier Cabin on June 5. The company’s iconic Glacier Park Lodge and Belton Chalet won’t open until June 24 and June 26, respectively, according to a press release.

Other openings include Motel Lake McDonald on June 15; Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish and St. Mary Village on June 18; Apgar Village Lodge & Cabins on June 20; Prince of Wales Hotel on June 30 and West Glacier Motel on July 1.

“We have the opportunity to experience Glacier and Waterton Lakes national parks this summer in a more intimate and less crowded way,” said Gary Rodgers, vice president and general manager of Pursuit’s Glacier Park Collection. “From reigniting the family road trip and RV experiences, to spending time enjoying Montana and Alberta’s great historic lodges, we are uniquely positioned to provide an opportunity for friends and family to spend quality time to reconnect.”

Each portion of the phased reopening will follow both state and provincial government guidelines and will include “rigorous cleaning, physical distancing and training protocols" as outlined in Pursuit’s recently announced Safety Promise Program, which can be found online at glacierparkcollection.com/safety-promise.

In addition, new operational protocols will include reducing guest capacity across all Pursuit attractions and culinary experiences, adopting stringent cleaning protocols as approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and screening all staff before shifts. According to the press release, physical distancing initiatives will also include the integration of express check-outs and plexiglass barrier implementation where possible.”

The company’s announcement comes just one day after officials with Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada announced the park will reopen some visitor access and basic services starting Monday.

In addition, Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow said in recent interviews that Glacier Park would most likely begin its gradual reopening during Phase 2 of Gov. Steve Bullock’s plan, which begins next Monday as well. According to the park’s website, “In Phase 2, some visitor services and facilities would open if they can be staffed and operated safely” and “if conditions allow, the opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road over Logan Pass would happen during Phase 2.”

Mow recently said in accordance with what he had heard from businesses throughout the Flathead Valley that rely on Glacier, the opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road would be his top priority.

Reporter Kianna Gardner can be reached at 758-4407 or kgardner@dailyinterlake.com