June is the month for seeing bears Creatures: Chances are minimal of spotting an eagle in Glacier National Park, but grizzlies are more visible.

TRAVEL Q&A

December 22, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

What is the best time to see eagles and bears in Glacier National Park?

Eagles are harder to spot than they used to be, said Rick Yates, a biological technician at the park. Until about 10 years ago, he said, "We had as many as 600 bald eagles in October, November."

But then the number of Kokanee salmon, upon which the eagles were feeding, dropped markedly. Among the reasons for the decline, Yates said, were the introduction of nonnative shrimp, which beat out the salmon in competition for food; the many fish taken by fishermen; and the lowering of the level of Flathead Lake.

Now, some bald eagles and many more golden eagles migrate over the park, at 10,000 feet, in October and November, but they do not pause as they once did. So the chances of seeing one, Yates said, are minimal.

As for bears, the best time to view them is in June, when they are on the avalanche slopes and feeding on emerging grasses. In the fall, bears are most likely to be out of sight, feeding primarily on huckleberries to put on weight for winter. From November to April they are in their dens.

The park has grizzly and black bears, Yates said. You can see them from a vehicle, and you should stay in it, he said. Bears should not be fed because they could come to expect it from people, and then might seek it aggressively.

I am seeking a service that will help make an exchange of a New York apartment with accommodations either in a United States beach area or a foreign location.

There are services that publish lists of homes and apartments for exchange. Subscribers, who list their own home, make their own arrangements by contacting the owners of homes in the directory. The services all say that apartments in New York, or any major city that is a tourist attraction, are a desirable swap for a place in a beach resort or a foreign location. For the prices given, subscribers get a year's worth of catalog and a listing in one.

Intervac U.S., Post Office Box 590504, San Francisco, Calif. 94159; (800) 756-4663, fax (415) 386-6853. The four directories issued each year contain a total of about 10,000 listings, 80 percent of them international and 20 percent domestic. The cost is $78 for the year, which includes three directories (issued September, February and April). A fourth issue, sent out in June, costs $25.

Vacation Exchange Club, Post Office Box 650, Key West, Fla. 33041; phone and fax (800) 638-3841. This company publishes five directories between December and July, with about 15,000 total listings. About 60 percent of them are in Europe, 25 percent are in North America and the rest are in such places as the Caribbean, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. The cost is $78.

Trading Homes International, Post Office Box 787, Hermosa Beach, Calif. 90254; (800) 877-8723, fax (310) 798-3865. For $75, a subscriber gets three directories a year, in March, June and November. There are about 2,000 total listings, roughly half domestic and half foreign.

The Invented City, 41 Sutter St., Suite 1090, San Francisco, Calif. 94404; (800) 788-2489, fax (415) 252-1171. There are about 2,000 listings total -- about half domestic and half foreign -- in books published in March, June and November. The cost is $50.

Worldwide Home Exchange Club, 806 Branford Ave., Silver Spring, Md. 20904; (301) 680-8950. A main catalog, published in April, and a June supplement carry about 1,500 listings, 200 of them domestic and the rest foreign. The cost is $31.

I would like to know about the small blue sticker applied to the back of my U.S. passport with the words "Blue Lane," the name of the airline and the date of travel.

The blue lane sticker is part of a program, run by the the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service in cooperation with many major airlines, to speed the arrival of passengers entering the United States.

According to Greg Gagne, a spokesman for the service, before a flight lands, most major airlines -- but not necessarily all their flights -- will provide the Immigration and Naturalization Service with a list of passengers, their passport numbers, countries of origin and itineraries shown on their airline ticket. Blue lane stickers are put on the passports of all those for whom such information is given.

Under the program, even before the plane lands, Gagne said, the service "can start the initial check" and know if there is someone whose data may warrant further scrutiny. The idea, Gagne said, is to eliminate having to question every passenger closely.

Pub Date: 12/22/96

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