Efforts to extend Waterton Lakes National Park westward to increase protection of the Canadian Flathead are gaining momentum . . .
On a map, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park resembles a slightly-misshapen topographic pizza with a big slice missing.
This week, three leading ecologists with varied backgrounds converged on Whitefish to explain why extending national park protections to that missing piece – which represents a 100,000-acre chunk of Canadian wilderness – is critical to preserving one of the most intact aquatic ecosystems in North America.
The transboundary Flathead River, which on the Montana side is known as the North Fork, is the ecologically potent “Garden of Eden” that straddles the U.S.-Canada border, extending from the Flathead Valley to southeast British Columbia. And while conservationists agree that the region is one of the best protected watersheds in the United States, the missing pie piece north of the border remains independent of Waterton Lakes National Park.