As Glacier Nears 200M Visitors, Park Copes With Crowded Campgrounds, Congested Trails, Staff Vacancies 

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It took more than a century for Montana's Glacier National Park to reach 100 million visitors—a mark that park officials expect to hit this month—but it will probably take no more than 40 years to hit the 200 million milestone. 

This morning's Missoulian reports that park officials are increasingly concerned about the growing number of visitors, which topped 2.3 million last year, while they cope with an unusually large number of vacancies among their permanent staff. Officials told the Missoulian that popular trails are more congested, backcountry campgrounds are crowded and there has been a huge increase in rafts and kayaks on the North Fork of the Flathead River.

Officials said they are revising their management plan, which may include restrictions to vehicle traffic, an increase in entrance fees or even a cap on visitors.

Meanwhile, park rangers had to a deal with a much more immediate crisis this past week when a black bear captured and ate a small dog near Lake McDonald. Rangers said they were able to track down the bear and euthanize it. It was the second time this year a wild animal had killed a dog near the park. In March, a ranger killed a mountain lion that got into a fight with the ranger's dog near park employee housing in West Glacier.
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