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Glacier Park features many outdoor options

SHARE Glacier Park features many outdoor options

GLACIER PARK CHALET. Granite Park Chalet in Glacier National Park will be operated by Glacier Wilderness Guides Inc. this summer as a shelter for hikers. Operating dates are July 1 through Sept. 13. The rate is $60 per person, and services include a bed and access to a common kitchen where you can prepare your own meals. Bring your own sleeping bags, water, food preparation equipment and food. Reservations are required. Call 800-521-7238.

- SPEAKING OF GLACIER . . . The national park will begin charging for backcountry permits this summer. The cost will be $4 per person per night. An annual backcountry pass will cost $50 per person. This new fee is in addition to the already-in-place $20 advance reservation processing fee, which was introduced last summer. If you're a walk-in visitor (you apply for a permit at the park the day you intend to use it), you don't have to pay the advance reservation fee. Walk-in backcountry permits are issued at Apgar and St. Mary Visitor Centers, Many Glacier, Polebridge and Two Medicine Ranger Stations and at Waterton Lakes National Park.- RESERVE A CAMPSITE IN GLACIER'S Fish Creek and St. Mary campgrounds through Bio-spherics Inc. of Beltsville, Md. Call 800-365-2267. The price is $15 per night. The service is scheduled to begin today for the 1998 summer season. Uniformed people will be on duty at each of the campgrounds to assign sites and make same-day reservations. Even if you don't make an advance reservation, you'll be required to pay the $15 camping fee.

- SHUTTLE AT CALIFORNIA PARK. The Point Reyes shuttle program, in effect through April, provides access to the national park during the peak times of gray whale migration, the elephant seal breeding and pupping season and the wildflowers of early spring. The 47-passenger shuttle costs $2.50 per person and leaves from the Drakes Beach parking lot.

- THE COLORADO DIRECTORY of cabins, lodges and campgrounds is available free. Call toll-free 1-888-222-4641, allow three to four weeks for delivery, or visit the Web at (www.coloradodirectory.

com). The 52-page booklet lists information about 400 cabin resorts, country bed & breakfast inns, mountain lodges and campgrounds. They are "affordable mountain and Western vacation accommodations hosted by family owners."

- FASHION DESIGNER TOMMY HILFIGER'S STORE is up and running on Beverly Hill's Rodeo Drive. The flagship facility, all 20,000 square feet of it, is at the corner of Rodeo Drive and Santa Mon-i-ca Blvd.

- THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, one of the country's best art museums, has published its first guidebook to the facility for children and families. "Behind the Lions: A Family Guide to The Art Institute of Chicago" offers a fun approach to enjoying the museum's fabulous art together. It has reproductions of artworks, clever illustrations and do-it-yourself art activities. The book costs $15.95 and is available at all four locations of the Art Institute's Museum Shop.

- CRUISE SHIP RATINGS. Cruise-Reports rates cruise ships according to professional travel agent evaluations. Among the vessels that scored high last year were Princess Cruise Lines' Dawn Princess for best value for the price; Carnival Destiny ranked the highest for best activities, best fit-ness/sports program, best enter-tain-ment, best for singles and best for action/fun seekers; Celebrity Cruises' Galaxy for best gym/spa facility; Abercrombie & Kent's Explorer for best educational program and best shore excursions; the Prussian Princess (Peter Deilmann EuropeAmerica Cruises) and Seabourn Legend shared top honors for best cuisine. The Seabourn Legend took top overall honors for the best ship. The Dawn Princess came in first in best for families.

- WINDJAMMING IN MAINE. The Maine Windjammer Association has 10 vessels that carry between 20 and 40 passengers and a crew of four to 10. It offers sailing vacations along the coast of Maine. The ships sail out of Camden, Rock-port and Rockland. To request information, call 1-800-807-WIND.

- RETROSPECTIVES AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY in Washington, D.C., include "Lorenzo Lotto: Rediscovered Master of the Renaissance," on view through March 1; "Alexander Calder: 1898-1976," from March 29-July 12; and "Van Gogh's Van Goghs: Masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam," from Oct. 4, 1998-Jan 3, 1999.