Tag Archives: Glacier National Park

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.

Read more . . .

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.

Glacier’s headwaters: Water tower to our continent

North Fork of the Flathead River - ©Mark LaRowe
North Fork of the Flathead River – ©Mark LaRowe

A few days ago, the National Parks Conservation Association released their Summer 2017 Field Report for the Northern Rockies. In it was an article by Michael Jamison, Crown of the Continent Program Manager, that is highly relevant to the North Fork, as well as any other region downstream of the Canadian Rockies. By permission of the author, it is reprinted here in its entirety . . .

People tend to think Glacier National Park is all about mountains.

And people are wrong.

Glacier is also about water: icy cold water rushing clean and clear across gravel and stone; whitewater plunging over cliff-band falls; sky-blue water eddying into lakes set like sapphires into the deep green of wilderness.

From the summit of the park’s Triple Divide Peak, meltwater flows west to the Pacific, east to the Atlantic, north to the Arctic by way of Hudson Bay. Glacier is water tower to a continent, spiked by peaks sharpened on a grindstone of Pleistocene ice.

I recently flew north out of Glacier, over a long slice of Alaska—another place branded by its mountains. Chugach. Wrangell-St. Elias. The Aleutians and Brooks and Chilkats.

But Alaska, like Glacier, is not really about mountains.

What I saw unfolding below was, again, a wild country defined by water: an endless winding coastline; miles of muskeg pooling like quicksilver; rivers washing the feet of mountains, slicing tundra and stone, spilling sediment braids into an ocean the color of steel.

Montana and Alaska are alike in this way. They also share a common headwater: British Columbia.

Continue reading Glacier’s headwaters: Water tower to our continent

Jeff Mow to give presentation April 19

Jeff Mow, Superintendent of Glacier National Park - NPS photo
Jeff Mow, Superintendent of Glacier National Park – NPS photo

Jeff Mow, Glacier National Park Superintendent, is giving a talk at Flathead Valley Community College on Wednesday, April 19 . . .

In celebration of National Park Week, Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow will give a community presentation about challenges and opportunities the park sees in the future at the heart of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem.

The talk will take place at Flathead Valley Community College on Wednesday, April 19 at 6 p.m. in the Large Community Room, Arts and Technology Building, Room 139.

Mow will address management strategies including the importance of community and partner collaboration in the face of increasing park visitation, invasive species, funding, and climate change.

Read more . . .

Glacier to lift restrictions on hand-propelled boats with invasive species inspections this season

Zebra mussels
Zebra mussels – via Wikipedia

Glacier Park has decided to allow small, hand-propelled watercraft on their lakes this season, as long as they are inspected for invasive mussels. Anything with a motor or big enough to require a trailer, is prohibited while the park further evaluates the danger posed by invasive mussel species.

Possibly in response to some points raised at last month’s Interlocal Meeting, “local users who live in more remote locations” (i.e., North Forkers) can get their equipment inspected at the “nearest ranger station.”

Here is the full press release, including a useful Q&A section. It’s followed by a link to a good summary article in the Hungry Horse News . . .

Date: March 16, 2017
Contact: Office of the Superintendent, 406-888-7901

WEST GLACIER, MT. – Glacier National Park announced today that hand-propelled, non-trailered watercraft including kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards will be permitted in the park with mandatory inspection beginning May 15 for Lake McDonald and the North Fork and June 1, 2017 for all remaining areas of the park. Last November, park waters were closed to all boating as a precaution after invasive species of non-native mussels were detected in two popular Montana reservoirs east of the park.

Hand-powered boat users will be required to have their craft certified mussel-free (“clean, drained, and dry”) by Glacier staff under a new inspection program with stations in four popular locations in the park. (Local users who live in more remote locations will be directed to the nearest ranger station for inspection.) This is a change from last season, when hand-propelled watercraft required visitors to complete an AIS-free self-certification form before launching into Glacier’s lakes.

Privately owned motorized and trailered watercraft brought into the park will not be allowed to operate on Glacier’s waters this summer while a comprehensive assessment of the threat from mussels is underway. Among other measures, this will include comprehensive testing of waters in the park and elsewhere in Montana for the presence of quagga and zebra mussels. These non-native mollusks reproduce quickly and can wreak havoc with lake environments, water quality, native wildlife, lake infrastructure, and cause significant economic harm to infested regions.

Continue reading Glacier to lift restrictions on hand-propelled boats with invasive species inspections this season