Montana snowpack boosted by moist, cool May and early June

BRETT FRENCH

More high-elevation snowfall over the weekend means it might take until Friday for Montana Department of Transportation crews to plow the Beartooth Highway to the state line.

“They got more snow last weekend than on Memorial Day weekend,” said Lori Ryan, information officer for MDT. Over Memorial Day weekend, parts of the pass accumulated 4 to 6 feet of snow.

From the Montana-Wyoming state line, the National Park Service has the task of clearing the roadway down to its junction with Chief Joseph Scenic Byway (Highway 296). A parks spokesperson said the agency’s crews are working on plowing the route with a goal to have it open sometime later this week.

The Beartooth Pass is a key and scenic route linking Red Lodge to Yellowstone National Park’s Northeast Entrance.

Likewise, the upper section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is still winter-like. “Over Memorial Day weekend multiple snow avalanches occurred at Triple Arches, delaying plowing progress,” the National Park Service wrote on its Facebook page. “Additional hazards include increased rockfall this weekend due to the predicted precipitation.”

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When the route may open is still undetermined.

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