For the next two weeks U.S. Forest Service crews will be working to improve portions of the West Glacier Trail, located in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area.
Since work began recently, crews have already replaced and rebuilt one bridge near the trailhead, that was lifted off its foundation twice during recent flooding events. Crews have also built a smaller bridge over a drainage that previously featured a culvert.
USFS Recreation Program Manager Ed Grossman said the main reason was to allow for the passage of anadromous fish.
Two more bridges are currently under construction, Grossman said, and crews have also done work to improve drainage along the trail. On Wednesday, crews received sling loads of materials via helicopter. The bridges, once complete, will be constructed primarily out of cedar.
“This project is one of four trails being worked on this summer thanks to funding that has been returned to the Forest Service thanks to guide outfitter partners,” Grossman said. “In order to use public land for commercial operations, (operators) return fees to the USFS. Those are used to do improvements or mitigate use on the public trails.”
Other trails getting attention include the East Glacier Trail, where drainage issues are being addressed, Grossman said. The Denver Trail, in Skagway, also saw work, as well as the Moraine Ecology Trail, near the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.
Grossman said trails are chosen mostly in direct response to public input or from partner feedback. In other cases, the work is done because severe damage calls for attention.
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