Montana Tribe Welcomes Back Tourists After Risky Shutdown Pays Off
July 23, 2021
Millions of people will flock to Montana’s Glacier National Park this summer after last year’s pandemic-caused tourism skid, and they will once more be able sightsee and camp nearby on the recently reopened Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
The tourists’ return is a relief to the owners of the restaurants, campgrounds and hotels forced to shut down last summer when Blackfeet tribal leaders closed the roads leading to the eastern side of the popular park.
Those closures fed worries that a major economic driver for residents on the reservation would be crippled. But the tribe’s priority was protecting its elders and stemming the spread of the coronavirus. It worked: The closures and the tribe’s strictly enforced stay-at-home orders and mask mandate led to a low daily case rate held up as an example by federal health officials. Now, boasting one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation, the reservation is back open for business.