Summer in Montana is a time for people to explore one of the state's crown jewels. When Glacier National Park's Going to the Sun Road didn't open until July 13th last year, Glacier Raft Company and other businesses on Highway 2 - the main road to Glacier - took a hit.
"It certainly affected us early on," said Glacier Raft's Ryan Thompson, "Just having The Going to the Sun Road closed and concerns about high water levels with the large snowpack last year it was a little bit of a late start to things."
Ryan says Glacier Raft Company relies on Glacier National Park and the summer opening of the park's most popular road to predict their summer season.
"We, as many businesses in West Glacier and in the Flathead are really dependent on that traffic," said Thompson. "Folks are coming here to see Glacier National Park and we're happy to take them rafting as part of their vacation."
Glacier Raft Company says the early start to the season means reservations are filling up, and they're filling up fast - "West Glacier's just starting to get busy and there's starting to be a little bit of traffic through here so we're excited," Thompson continued.
Ryan says it's a partnership that mutually benefits the park and others in the Flathead.
"Certainly [we] want to express our gratitude to the park service for moving on getting the road cleared," he concluded, "We're excited for what's going to be a relatively early opening this year. So that's exciting for us and certainly a lot of businesses in the valley that look forward to those tourists coming after the road opens."
For now, all eyes are on Mother Nature to see if summer reaches the Sun Road soon.