Giving Back to Glacier – Flathead Beacon
Whether it’s rebuilding the iconic spiral staircase at the historic Many Glacier Hotel, tracking the park’s diversity of wildlife, retooling the trails, educating future park stewards, examining the visitor usage trends, help provide training to Bark Ranger Gracie or reduce vehicle emissions, the Glacier National Park Conservancy is here to work for you, the visitor, as well as the natural resources that keep l inside the wild park.
But neither can the nonprofit do it without you, the visitor.
Glacier National Park has seen a 40% growth in visitor numbers since 2012, with over 3 million visitors converging here each year.
As a nonprofit fundraising arm of the park, the Glacier National Park Conservancy is ready to help with projects the National Park Service cannot manage, but which serves the visitor experience. For example, thanks in part to generous donations from visitors to the association, sociologists at the University of Montana College of Forestry have helped park managers understand patterns and trends in visitor use in the national park. of Glaciers over the past decade.
The data was recently compiled into a history map to help show where, when, and how many people hike the park’s trails. This allows managers to know if there are any changes in the habits of hikers on the trails and to make scientific decisions to protect a range of opportunities: from very popular areas with many people and amenities to areas where visitors can experience more loneliness. Managing this range of opportunities also ensures a quality visitor experience and protection of resources.
The Conservancy also gives visitors the opportunity to help give back, giving them a sense of stewardship and pride in being a part of the National Park Service’s crown jewel.
Visitors can also participate in the conservation and preservation of the resources of Glacier National Park, or those of any other unit in the national parks system, by helping to purify the air. Literally.
The “Be Idle Free, Turn the Key” program was born from a partnership between
Glacier National Park and Glacier National Park Conservancy as part of their “Idling Awareness Campaign” to educate visitors and employees on how they can reduce vehicle emissions in order to reduce emissions. pollutants that contribute to health problems and climate change.
Idle pollution has been linked to respiratory problems such as asthma, for example, which increases vulnerability to COVID-19.
Transport emissions play an important role in climate change, the effects of which are manifested in the reduction of the park’s namesake glaciers. Vehicle idling occurs at Glacier in parking lots, at scenic lookouts and at trailheads, and at standstill in traffic and road construction.
Glacier has received around 3 million annual visitors in recent years, most of them traveling by car. Limiting idling times to a maximum of two minutes will save money on gasoline and benefit the health of the public and park resources.
Glacier National Park is committed to reducing vehicle idling among employees and the public. Strategies for employees include adopting a management directive limiting idling time for fleet vehicles, training staff in contact with visitors on idling reduction messages and communications with all employees idling. For park visitors, the campaign will focus on education and awareness.
The Glacier National Park Conservancy funded the design and printing of stickers depicting cartoon mountain goats traveling in a red vehicle with the slogan “Be idle, turn the key”. Stickers will be free to visitors and will be available from rangers outside the Apgar and Logan Pass visitor centers and in the Rising Sun area. The logo will also be used in park messages to remind employees and visitors to turn off their vehicles while waiting.
“It’s such an easy way for each of us to do something small that can have a big positive impact,” said Doug Mitchell, executive director of the Glacier National Park Conservancy. “There is simply no downside to this innovative program. Not only will turning off our cars save fuel and make parking lots and pullouts quieter and more enjoyable for all of us, but a simple twist of the wrist by each of us will improve air quality for all of us, humans and animals. . “
To donate to Glacier National Park Conservancy or view its annual field guide to fund Glacier’s urgent needs, visit www.glacier.org.