Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Norma P. Nickerson


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Forest Sciences | Natural Resources and Conservation


Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) is one of the premier road facilities in the world. As the only cross-mountain route through Glacier National Park, the road brings nearly two million visitors a year into the heart of Montana wilderness. How to meet this demand for travel while protecting the nature of the visitor experience and the pristine setting for which the experience exists is a challenge of on-going complexity.

This research was designed to assist park managers in determining future changes to GTSR by describing and analyzing the experiences on the road today. Through 40 onsite interviews at Logan Pass (the pinnacle of GTSR) with drivers, passengers in a car, cyclists, and shuttle riders, it is hoped that a greater understanding of the ‘mobility dynamics,’ both within modes and between modes, can be gained. To this end, three research questions were addressed: 1) What are the experiences of travelers on Going-tothe- Sun Road? 2) How does travel mode affect the experience? 3) How might travelers’ experiences be improved on Going-to-the-Sun Road?

The results of this study imply that there is a broad range of experiences being felt on GTSR and that mode choice does makes a difference. The results also suggest that eight distinct, yet highly interrelated emergent managerial issues are influencing the GTSR experience. A final interpretation puts forth a set of mitigating measures and framework scenarios for improving the traveling experience on GTSR in Glacier National Park.



© Copyright 2002 Robert N. Giordano