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Travel Writers Touring The Flathead Have To Skip The Park


With the Flathead's biggest attraction, Glacier National Park, out of commission until further notice, visitors to the Valley are caught off guard.

Five travel writers from across North America are touring with the Chamber of Commerce until Saturday, October 5 throughout the Flathead Valley, but their schedules had to abruptly change because of the government shutdown.

"Major surprise--for sure. When I heard about it the day before from a fellow writer I didn't believe it," said Christopher Holenderski.

Holenderski is a freelance writer out of Calgary working on a piece for Dreamscapes magazine, a Canadian publication. Today he is looking at art in the Hockaday Museum, but Tuesday, October 1 he was supposed to see Glacier National Park.

"I do understand, like, you know, just very basically what's happening, but you know in depth--since I'm Canadian--I definitely don't know. I don't follow current events politically to a T here in the us," said Holenderski.

"We explain to them that the process of government and kind of what we're dealing with right now--not only in our region, but all across the United States," said Rob Brisendine with the Kalispell Convention & Visitor Bureau.

Holenderski is only writing a 1000-word article, but he does think the closure will affect his coverage of the Valley. Since his piece will not run for another couple months, he believes even touching on the Park shutdown would be a bad idea. One of the coordinators of the tour, Rob Brisendine, is not too worried though.

"There was disappointment on their end, but it gave them a good story to tell," said Brisendine.

Looking ahead, Holenderski foresees potential for his fellow Calgarians to think twice about visiting the Valley if something does not change soon.

"It all depends on how long it lasts, I think. The longer it lasts, the more people remember it and kind of it'll affect their plans," said Holenderski.

Although plans have changed, the Chamber of Commerce is still keeping the writers busy meeting cowboys as well as rafting and hiking outside the Park.

Other publications represented in the tour include Canadian National Geographic and Town and Country.

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