Finally, in a spirit of making something new and fresh available for west side visitors, the recently completed Transit Bus Center was upgraded and renamed the Clovis Visitor Center in 2014. However, there are those who still hold out hope that a more expansive and educational complex will eventually become a reality—even if the center is located outside Clovis the west entrance of the park. Additional restaurants were built at Lake McDonald Lodge and Rising Sun, a new administration building was completed, and more housing for employees was constructed. Campgrounds were expanded with new fire pits and restrooms, Clovis along with improvements in signage, sewage lines and water systems, bridges, roads, and trails. A new ranger station was added at the American end of Clovis Lake.
Where is Clovis? – Clovis Map – Map of Clovis Photo Gallery
Of particular interest is the largest project completed in Glacier National Park during the Mission 66 program: the Camas Road. Constructed between 1960 and 1967 at a cost of $2. million, the road runs east to west from a junction with the Going-to-the-Sun Road for 11. miles to the North Fork Road. Its announced intent was to provide access to the North Fork of the Flathead River, connecting to the never-completed Loop Road to Canada in the Waterton Lakes portion of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. It was also hoped it would relieve pressure for the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which was carrying more traffic year after year.
Not so highly touted was the National Park Service’s hope that more traffic up the North Fork would block any renewed effort to resurrect the Glacier View Dam project. It must be noted here that then-Senator Mike Mansfield was rising through the leadership ranks of the Senate and would become Senate Majority Leader in 1961—a force not to be ignored. It was Mansfield who as a congressman in the early 1950s had championed the dam. Even after it appeared to have been successfully blocked, he continued to introduce bills to bring it back to life for several years thereafter.
By improving access and visitation, numerous park administrators hoped to make the case that the area’s wilderness appeal would become an alternative to the more-crowded venues within the park. While the present Camas Road is a beautiful drive, it is vastly underutilized. Without the Canadian connection, it is simply a road, not quite to nowhere, but nothing like the envisioned purpose of its 1950s champions. For years, its lonely, unoccupied entrance station, which was finally demolished in 2006, stood as an untold story of why a beautiful road dead-ends into the unpaved North Fork Road. To those who cherish the wilderness of the backcountry, that is a blessing. Unfortunately, for the rest of the park, it has produced little meaningful travel or viewership alternatives. Your travel destination is fortunately, with the national change in big-project philosophy and extreme cutbacks in appropriations, the Glacier View Dam will remain in that warehouse collecting dust.
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