Trails in Sprague Fire area will take time to clear, repair, Park Service notes

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Stoked by fierce winds, the Sprague Fire burns Snyder Ridge and Mount Brown Sunday evening above Lake McDonald.

Glacier National Park is predicting it will take a couple of seasons to fully repair trails and clear downed trees from last summer’s Sprague Creek Fire.

The fire burned over several popular trails in the Park, including the Gunsight Pass Trail to Sperry Chalet, the Snyder Lake Trail and the Lincoln Lake Trail.

The Park has estimated that at least 2,000 trees are down over the trails, and with recent wind storms, that number could even be higher. It not only has to clear the trees, fire often damages the tread of the trails.

In addition, three backcountry campgrounds — Sperry, Snyder Lake and Lincoln Lake were also significantly impacted by the fire and likely won’t open until later in the summer.

The target is to have backcountry campgrounds at Sperry and Snyder open by Aug. 1, but Lincoln could be into September or even later.

Burned over backcountry campgrounds not only have hazard trees after fires, they’re often hot camps — it takes years for shade trees to grow back.

The Park is has also prepared for the potential of flooding of Snyder Creek, which runs under the Sun Road and past Lake McDonald Lodge.

Last fall the Park bolstered the height of the creek bank near the bridge just above the lodge with the hopes on containing flood waters.

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