So Glacier National Park is considering a “one car in, one car out” policy at venues on dead-end roads such as Bowman Lake due to overcrowded parking causing a “safety issue.” I wonder how often emergency vehicles have had a problem getting to where they were needed at the lake. Not to mention that it seems to me a helicopter would be more useful in providing timely intervention and not be affected by overcrowded parking. My guess is that there are fewer than 50 parking spaces (excluding the campground itself) for the whole site, including people parking for multi-day backcountry hiking.
As someone who has kayaked and picnicked once or twice a summer at Bowman, I am astounded at such pathetic problem-solving. Bowman is not on a main road. Getting there requires a 45-minute drive from Columbia Falls to the park entrance in Polebridge, a requisite stop for baked goods at the Mercantile and a 20 minute 6 mile drive down a poorly constructed and more poorly maintained rock (calling it gravel would be misleading) road to the lake once inside the park entrance.
To solve the problem of overcrowded parking areas, the typical federal bureaucratic response is to limit access to the people who pay taxes (and entry fees) to enjoy these areas they pay to fund, not to mention the salaries of park rangers and bureaucrats, many of whom act like they own the parks and do We the People a favor by letting us use them.
Here’s an alternative to disappointing people after an hour drive up a washboard North Fork Road only to be told to turn around and go home because the parking lot is full. Why not add more parking to handle the demand? Surely there is space for additional parking. I have never experienced overcrowding of any of the facilities (toilets, fire pits, picnic tables, lake input area or the lake itself) on any of my visits. It is a wonderful serene spot. Even when “crowded,” seems to me that a couple of dozen additional parking spaces would handle 95 percent or more of the problem days.
Come on, Mr. Mow ... use some imagination and at the same time satisfy your customers (who happen to also be the bosses who pay your salary). Surely the budget could find money for a little extra parking. President Theodore Roosevelt would be proud of your constructive problem-solving ability, not to mention the result ... satisfying the needs of the people whom you serve.
Myerowitz is a resident of Columbia Falls.