Tag Archives: Waterton Lakes National Park

Time to fill out Waterton Park

Edwin Fields of Headwaters Montana has a significant op-ed in this week’s Hungry Horse News that is of particular interest to North Fork residents . . .

It’s late summer in Montana and thousands of locals and visitors from around the world have streamed into Glacier National Park every day. Make that Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. It’s an important distinction that illustrates just how special this place is.

Glacier Park is the U.S. side of the Peace Park. Waterton Lakes is on the Canadian side. But in 1932, the local Rotary Clubs of Kalispell and Cardston, Alberta, thought it would be a good idea to give the world its first International Peace Park. And after a lot of good-hearted work, they succeeded…

…Yet the case must again be made that Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is not yet complete. Just look at a map…

Continue reading . . .

‘If Glacier leaves you speechless, speak up’ – ProtectGlacier.com launched

Many of you already got an email from the National Parks Conservation Association announcing the opening of the “Protect Glacier” website. For those who haven’t seen the big announcement yet, here it is:

More than 30 years ago, fans of Glacier National Park were alarmed to learn of Canadian coal mining plans that would tear down entire mountains along the park’s northwestern border.

Today, after decades of international negotiation and diplomacy, those plans finally have been scuttled, with Canada pledging to protect the park’s world-class waterways from upstream mining.  Today the United States is working to do the same.

Even as major energy companies (including Chevron, BP, Exxon and ConocoPhillips) volunteer to retire their mining and drilling leases on Glacier’s western fringe, lawmakers struggle to pass protective measures prohibiting future mining of public lands in the North Fork Flathead River drainage.

That’s why a coalition of concerned citizens and Glacier Park lovers  — with help from the National Parks Conservation Association — has brought this historic issue into the dot.com future, with a website and clearing house dedicated to resolving land-use conflicts in the transboundary Flathead.

ProtectGlacier.com went live this week, a virtual world where visitors can explore maps and photographs from the Flathead, can learn about what’s at stake and flipthrough years of reports and research. They can read the latest park news, Tweet and re-Tweet and link to Facebook, and they can listen to what people are saying about the North Fork Watershed Protection Act.  That legislation (S.233) has been introduced by Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, and would withdraw public lands adjacent to the park from future drilling – just as the Canadians have done on their side of the border.

Online visitors to the site can sign a ProtectGlacier.com letter of support of the legislation, adding their voices to the thousands who already have spoken up on behalf of America’s finest alpine park.

This Website represents the future – our future, Glacier Park’s future – but it’s also just the latest chapter in a very old story, a story that Glacier’s advocates have been helping to write for decades. This is, in fact, how history gets written. So pick up that keyboard, and be sure to add a few lines of your own at ProtectGlacier.com.

Further reading: The National Parks Traveler website also has a good article about the ProtectGlacier.com site.

U.S. senators welcome plan to protect North Fork of Flathead during hearing

From today’s Missoulian . . .

A proposal to protect the North Fork of the Flathead River from mining got a friendly reception at a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday.

“You have convinced me Glacier (National Park) and the North Fork are true jewels of the West,” Senate Energy and Natural Resources acting chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., told Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. “We’re going to get your bill out of this committee and onto the president’s desk.”

Continue reading . . .

Montana senators back North Fork Watershed Protection Act

From today’s Daily Inter Lake . . .

Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester testified Wednesday in support of legislation that would permanently withdraw federal lands in the North Fork Flathead River drainage from future leases for energy development.

The two testified in support of their North Fork Watershed Protection Act before the Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests in Washington, D.C.

It is the latest step in a cooperative agreement with British Columbia that bans mining in the North Fork river corridor on both sides of the border, including areas near Glacier and Waterton national parks.

Continue reading . . .

Legislation, more agreements still needed to ensure protection of Flathead region

This well-written, well-researched article by Rob Chaney of the Missoulian is recommended reading for anyone interested in the challenges still to come in protecting the Trans-boundary Flathead . . .

Now that the trans-boundary conference calls and Washington, D.C., hand-shaking sessions are over, a lot remains to finish in protecting the Flathead River between British Columbia and Montana.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s Valentine’s Day announcement that two conservation groups were providing $9.4 million to buy out mining claims on the Canadian side of the Flathead didn’t include all the details of the deal. One significant omission was that while the U.S.-based Nature Conservancy is raising its half of the money through private donations, the Nature Conservancy of Canada is dipping into a $225 million Canadian government fund for its contribution.

Continue reading . . .

NPCA Praises BC Premier Gordon Campbell for Important Step in Preserving Waterton, Glacier Parks

The National Parks Conservation Association issued a press release today praising BC Premier Gordon Campbell for his efforts to protect the Canadian Flathead and, by extension, Waterton and Glacier Parks, as well as the Flathead drainage south of the border.

Here’s the lead-in. Read the whole thing to see some familiar local names . . .

“We look forward to seeing the details of this agreement to halt inappropriate mining in the Canadian wilderness adjacent to the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and anticipate the introduction of a substantive protective measure for the Flathead in B.C.’s legislature. We also recognize the leadership of Premier Gordon Campbell as he leaves office, in continuing to advance a 100-year-old vision to permanently protect one of the world’s most special places. It’s been more than a century since the first proposal to expand Waterton Lakes National Park into the BC Flathead, and we look forward to working with the incoming premier to complete this conservation legacy.

Continue reading . . .

UNESCO World Heritage Committee report recommends increased Flathead Valley protection

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee released the final report of the scientific mission study of threats to Waterton-Glacier Park. A press release posted to the Flathead Wild website has the highlights . . .

A report commissioned by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is calling for a “conservation and wildlife management plan” for the transboundary Flathead and a new management plan for the Flathead River Valley that “gives priority to natural ecological values and wildlife conservation.”…

The 50-page report, released today at the World Heritage Committee meeting in Brasilia, recommends:

  • A new B.C. Southern Rocky Mountains Management Plan “that gives priority to natural ecological values and wildlife conservation.”
  • Taking steps to minimize barriers to wildlife connectivity, including a long-term moratorium on further mining developments in south eastern B.C., including in the Elk Valley, “in the corridor of natural terrain that creates vital habitat connectivity and allows the unimpeded movement of carnivores and ungulates” between Waterton-Glacier and Canada’s Rocky Mountains national parks.
  • A single conservation and wildlife management plan for the transboundary Flathead.
  • Inscription of Waterton-Glacier on the list of World Heritage in Danger if development of the proposed Lodgepole coal strip mine had proceeded (the B.C. government banned Flathead mining and energy development in February 2010 after receiving a draft copy of the mission report).

For those of you who prefer to get your information directly from source documents, we’ve made the full report available for direct viewing/download (50 pages, PDF format, 2MB).

Headwaters Montana advocates North Fork wilderness

From the Wednesday, October 14, 2009 online edition of the Hungry Horse News . . .

There’s a renewed push for wilderness in the North Fork. Headwaters Montana, a relatively new conservation group has released a plan for land conservation on both sides of the border.

Tucked in that plan is a call for 140,000 acres of designated wilderness in the Thompson-Seton and Mount Hefty areas.

But the plan doesn’t end there. It includes a wilderness designation for Glacier’s backcountry, expansion of Waterton Lakes National Park to the Canadian Flathead and wildlife management zones west of the Waterton expansion.

Read the entire article . . .

UN to hear petition that Waterton-Glacier Park in danger

Last Tuesday’s Globe and Mail carried an article on the move to place Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park on the UN list of endangered World Heritage Sites due to the proposed Cline Coal Mine in the Canadian Flathead and other possible resource extraction activities in that area. (Thanks to Will Hammerquist of the National Parks Conservation Association for catching this one.)

A stunningly beautiful park that spans the Canada-U.S. border in southwestern Alberta may soon be added to an infamous United Nations list of the world’s most threatened special areas.

In a session in Seville, Spain, next month, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization will consider a petition by 11 conservation groups asking that Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park be designated a World Heritage Site in Danger.

“If that happens, it would be a really big black eye for both Canada and the United States,” Ryland Nelson, a spokesman for one of the petitioning groups, Wildsight, said yesterday.

Read the entire article . . .

Groups renew call to expand Waterton into B. C. river valley

From the Saturday, January 31, 2009 online edition of the Calgary Herald . . .

Conservation groups are renewing calls for Waterton Lakes National Park to be expanded into the Flathead River Valley, despite British Columbia’s decision to close the door to coal bed methane development in the ecologically key area in southeastern B.C.

The Sierra Club, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Wildsight and others say the relatively untouched valley is still imperilled.

“Until we have permanent protection for the Flathead River Valley in the form of a national park, it is still threatened by future coal bed methane proposals,” said Sarah Cox, a spokeswoman for Sierra Club B. C. “And it’s under threat from a proposal for strip mining coal and other minerals.”

Read the entire article . . .