Associated Press

HELENA, Mont.  — The Blackfeet Tribal Business Council voted Wednesday to allow the eastern entrance to Glacier National Park, located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, to open for the 2021 tourist season.

The east entrance has been closed since last March after the tribe declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The park’s west-facing entrances closed briefly last year in response to the pandemic but reopened in June.

The tribal council voted unanimously to allow the east entrances to open based on the increased availability of COVID-19 testing and vaccines, according to a news release. As of Wednesday, 95 percent of the tribe’s eligible population had been vaccinated.

The Blackfeet Tribe’s spokesperson James McNeely said mask wearing will remain a requirement on tribal land.

Park officials announced Wednesday that access to the east side of Glacier National Park will reopen on Thursday, March 18, at Two Medicine, Cut Bank, and St. Mary. Visitors will be allowed to enter on foot, skis, or snowshoes. Regular winter road closures remain in place for vehicles, according to a post on the park's official Twitter account.

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