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.
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.
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.
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.
In response to the recent detection of invasive mussel populations in central Montana, Glacier National Park is issuing an interim boating closure within all park waters, in accordance with the park’s Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Action Plan. The closure includes both motorized and hand propelled watercraft.
The 2014 plan calls for this immediate closure when invasive mussels are detected within a waterway in the State of Montana, as was announced on November 9 by Montana Fish Wildlife, and Parks.
The park will begin an assessment period to conduct testing, inspect park boats, and evaluate the risk boats pose to park waters and waters downstream from the unintended introduction of invasive mussels. The assessment will likely include the evaluation of further tests of waters across the State of Montana during the summer of 2017. The closure will remain in place during the assessment period, which will extend until the nature of the threat is better understood.
“Park scientists will work diligently with the State of Montana and other water quality experts to understand the scope of this threat, and identify steps the park will take to further protect our waters in the Crown of the Continent,” said park superintendent Jeff Mow.
Glacier National Park sits at the top of three continental scale watersheds. Water from the park drains into the Columbia, Missouri, and South Saskatchewan Basins. Protecting park waters from an infestation is important not only for the park’s ecosystem, but also to economic and ecological interests downstream.
Beginning in 2011, the park initiated a mandatory boat inspection and launch permit program to reduce the risk of infestation of park waters by invasive mussels. Since that time, approximately 1,000 motorized boat permits were issued annually. The park also required self-inspection and AIS-free certification of non-motorized watercraft. These boats come from many states across the country, including those with established populations of invasive mussels.
In 2016, launch permits were issued to boats registered in 13 mussel positive states following inspection.
A world-wide assortment of conservationists met in Glacier Park . . .
What many European visitors to the United States encounter on their first trip to America, the woman from Croatia noted, is New York City.
One of the first things Maja Vasilijevic saw on her first trip to the U.S. was a little different than the bright lights and teeming crowds of Times Square. No, one of Vasilijevic’s first encounters with America included a large herd of bison thundering across a lonely stretch of U.S. Highway 2 on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
“It’s unique,” said Vasilijevic, who had never in her life seen one of the animals in person. “Not only the bison – the whole landscape.”
Glacier Park is doing better than most national parks in dealing with and planning for increased visitation . . .
With a 17-year-old general management plan in place and work continuing to address traffic issues on Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park appears to at least partially escape the wrath of a conservation group’s complaint that most of America’s national parks are ignoring federal laws requiring management plans.
The recently released reports come as the National Park Service promotes its 100th anniversary, and many parks are braced for record crowds. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says its review of 108 of the 411 units the NPS administers – including all 59 of America’s national parks – reveals that just seven have established visitor limits, called carrying capacities, and six of those only cover certain areas or facilities.
PEER says the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978 requires “visitor carrying capacities for all areas” of all national parks. “The safeguards Congress enacted to prevent national parks from being loved to death have become dead letters,” Jeff Ruch, the executive director of PEER, says.