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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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 email@example.com for more information.
Waterton Lakes National Park’s Butterfly BioBlitz will be July 11th from 11 am to 5 pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Remember to bring a valid passport if traveling across the border.
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.
According to their website, Glacier Park opened the Camas Road entrance today. It’s the latest opening of the past five years.
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.