Tag Archives: Glacier National Park

Satellite imagery helps spot Glacier Park’s huckleberry patches

Huckleberry shrubs turn bright red in fall - USGS photo
Huckleberry shrubs turn bright red in fall – USGS photo

Researchers have developed a new tool to spot huckleberry patches in Glacier Park . . .

The average huckleberry is about as big around as a pencil eraser. But now we can spot them from space.

Several years of refinement have allowed researchers in Glacier National Park to tease apart landscape photos and pinpoint huckleberry patches. The method works on both aerial and satellite photos.

That could qualify as classified intelligence for some secrecy-bound huckleberry hunters. U.S. Geological Survey research ecologist Tabitha Graves and biologist Nate Michael joked they could be endangering themselves by revealing berry hot spots.

Read more . . .

Glacier names Yellowstone chief ranger as new deputy superintendent

Pete Webster, Glacier National Park deputy superintendent
Pete Webster, Glacier National Park deputy superintendent

From the official press release . . .

Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow has selected Pete Webster to be the park’s new deputy superintendent.

Webster will be responsible for leading the park’s division chiefs in identifying park priorities, addressing complex operational challenges, and long-range planning. In recent years the park has faced numerous challenges related to rising visitation, invasive species threats, and wildfires among others.

He has served as the chief ranger at Yellowstone National Park since 2015.

“Pete has proven himself to be an exceptional leader in the National Park Service,” said Superintendent Jeff Mow. “We are very fortunate he’s accepted this new post to offer expertise on some of our most challenging operations.”

Webster and his family have strong ties to the Glacier region. While still in college, he first moved to St. Mary in 1986-87 for a summer job at a local hotel. Webster returned to Glacier as an intern in 1988, as a seasonal park ranger from 1991-93, and as the sub-district ranger in St. Mary from 2004-08.

A native of the Detroit, Michigan area, Webster holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He and his wife Dawn will live in the Flathead Valley with their youngest son, who will enter high school in the fall.

He replaces Eric Smith who moved to Texas last fall to serve as superintendent of Lake Meredith National Recreation Area and Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument.

Ellen Horowitz: Tours, writing, children’s books show love for Glacier Park

What I Saw in Glacier - cover
What I Saw in Glacier – cover

Long-time NFPA member and stalwart Ellen Horowitz continues to receive awards and praise for her writing and teaching . . .

With sparkling blue eyes, a contagious smile, and boundless enthusiasm, Ellen Horowitz’s passion is sharing the details of Glacier National Park through hands-on tours, as well as her writing, including her prize-winning children’s book, “What I Saw in Glacier: A Kid’s Guide to the National Park,” published by Riverbend Publishing in Helena.

“What I Saw in Glacier,” is a beautiful and information-packed guide geared towards children answering many of their questions, as well as a good number of the ones their parents might have, when they visit the park.

Because of Horowitz’s intrinsic talent in bringing these topics alive, she earned first place for it in the Children’s Book category in the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s Excellence in Craft (EIC) contest in June 2018.

Read more . . .

Seems like the whole world is watching Glacier Park’s bear cam

Black bear emarges from den in a cottonwood tree in Glacier National Park, late March, 2018 - courtesy of Glacier National Park
Black bear emarges from den in a cottonwood tree in Glacier National Park, late March, 2018 – courtesy of Glacier National Park

Every year the buzzards return to Hinckley, the swallows come back to Capistrano and Montana’s bears ease out of hibernation . . .

A sluggish black bear that spent its winter denned high up inside a cottonwood tree in Glacier National Park is slowly awakening, and the world is watching as the sleepy bruin ploddingly emerges from its lair, yawning and scratching and prompting a collective “awww” from across the globe.

After observing the bear on March 23, park employees installed a webcam and began streaming live footage of a prominent hole in the cottonwood’s trunk where a branch broke away, allowing the bear to take refuge in the repurposed digs last fall and enjoy its winter slumber undisturbed. The footage features two views, a close-up and a wide-angle shot, using a telephoto lens with a 30X optical zoom so as not to disturb the bear.

Although the distance from the camera to the tree is 357 feet, the view looks spectacularly close. At times the bear’s ears and tufted bedhead can easily be viewed through the portal, through which the bear occasionally pokes its head and yawns adorably, or climbs out onto the cottonwood’s branches to explore.

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Glacier super details climate change challenges facing park

Grace Lake in Glacier National Park
Grace Lake in Glacier National Park

Glacier Park superintendent Jeff Mow discussed climate change challenges during a recent presentation at Flathead Community College . . .

On Sept. 20, Glacier National Park’s iconic Going-to-the-Sun road closed on both sides for very different reasons.

On the west side, the road was closed due to the proximity of the Sprague Fire that already had been burning for more than a month and had gutted one of the park’s most prized structures — the Sperry Chalet’s dormitory.

Coming from the east, smoke and heat weren’t the worry. Instead, officials were forced to close the road because of the snow and ice that had made its annual chilly appearance.

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Lawsuit opposes national park helitours

Groups in Hawaii have sued the FAA regarding helicopter tours over several national parks, including Glacier Park . . .

Hawaii residents and an organization representing federal workers have sued the Federal Aviation Administration to force it to do something about tour helicopters buzzing their communities and national parks around the U.S., including Montana’s Glacier National Park.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and Hawaii Island Coalition Malama Pono asks the court to order the FAA to draft either air tour plans or voluntary agreements governing air tours for seven parks within two years.

Bob Ernst lives along the flight path of helicopters taking tourists to see lava inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The rancher and farmer said the helicopter noise starts before he eats breakfasts and lasts all day.

Read more . . .

Multiple fires in Glacier Park following storm; some trail and backcountry closures

From last Friday’s official press release, here’s the latest on fires in Glacier Park, as well as backcountry and campground closures . . .

Afternoon Update – Multiple Fires in Park Following Storm

Fire personnel conducted a detection flight over the park midday today.

Three fires were confirmed following yesterday afternoon’s storm.

The Sprague Fire is currently estimated at 10 acres. A Type 1 and Type 2 helicopter are being used to drop water on this priority fire. Heli- rappel crews have been inserted to support fire suppression activities, and additional crews will be responding this afternoon.

The Rogers Fire is currently estimated at two acres, though little to no smoke was seen on the fire during the overflight.

A new start was detected near Howe Lake that is estimated at less than .1 acre.

Air resources working on the Sprague Fire will assist with the Rogers and Howe Lake fires as available. Additional field personnel will also assist from the ground. Helicopters dropped water on the Rogers Fire yesterday while also responding to the Vaught Fire.

No new fire activity was detected for the Vaught Fire or for previous smoke reports on Apgar Mountain or in the Nyack area, however there was low visibility in the Nyack area due to fog. Closures will remain in effect for all of these areas while the park continues to monitor conditions.

The response team will conduct another detection flight later this afternoon and will release an update with flight findings, overnight fire behavior, and an update on closures in the morning.

Continue reading Multiple fires in Glacier Park following storm; some trail and backcountry closures

Several small fires in Glacier Park trigger closures

Glacier National Park Thompson Fire 2015 at Sunset
A column of smoke from the Glacier National Park Thompson Fire could be seen rising over the Rocky Mountain Front at sunset Aug. 12, 2015. (Photo by Jonathan Moor)

Glacier Park has had several lightening triggered fires over the past week or so. Most are along the west face of the Continental Divide in the North Fork and most are pretty small. There are trail closures in several areas, including the Quartz Lake Loop and the Logging Lake drainage. The Hungry Horse News has a good summary . . .

Glacier National Park has closed some trails and a portion of the Inside North fork Road from Polebridge down to Logging Creek as it battles several small fires in the region.

The fires aren’t large, about a tenth of an acre or so, but there is one at Grace, Logging, Cummings Meadow and Quartz Lake.

Small fires at Bowman Creek and Big Prairie have been put out. Firefighters were also working on a small blaze on Snyder Ridge. Yesterday, a helicopter made water dumps on the fire, scooping water out of Lake McDonald. Visitors could also see helicopters getting water out of the North Fork of the Flathead…

Read more . . .

Ellen Horowitz’ new Glacier Park book released

What I Saw in Glacier - cover
What I Saw in Glacier – cover

Long-time NFPA member and stalwart Ellen Horowitz just had a new book published . . .

Columbia Falls author Ellen Horowitz is no stranger to natural history writing for kids.

She’s a freelance writer whose work appears in magazines like Ranger Rick. Her pieces have won national awards, including the National Wildlife Federation’s Trudy Farrand and John Strohm Magazine Writing Award, and she took first place in the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s Excellence in Craft contest.

Horowitz was asked to write “What I Saw in Glacier, A Kid’s Guide to the National Park” as a sequel to the popular “What I Saw in Yellowstone,” written by Durrae Johanek.

Read more . . .

Waterton-Glacier butterfly bioblitz announced

From the official press release . . .

The Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center (CCRLC) is pleased to announce its inaugural Waterton-Glacier Butterfly BioBlitz July 10th and 11th at Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks. Visitors will work alongside taxonomic experts to document butterfly diversity, and learn more about butterflies, and other lepidopterans in the Crown of the Continent. Participants will use the iNaturalist app to record field observations, and are encouraged to download the app prior to the event.

Glacier National Park’s Butterfly BioBlitz will be July 10th from noon to 3:00 pm at both Apgar Village, and Two Medicine. Participants are not required to stay until the close of the event. The event is free, and open to people of all ages, and skill levels. Registration is required. Visit https://www.nps.gov/rlc/crown/bioblitz.htm to register. Contact CCRLC at (406)-888-7944 or email Evan Portier at evan_portier@nps.gov for more information.

Waterton Lakes National Park’s Butterfly BioBlitz will be July 11th from 11 am to 5 pm. Contact william.greene@pc.gc.ca for more information. Remember to bring a valid passport if traveling across the border.