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Glacier’s Winter of Destruction

Plowing near Two Medicine in March - NPS photo

If you visited Glacier National Park this year, or if you live in northwest Montana where you see park news, then you know Glacier’s snowfall during the winterwas double the usual amount. Sperry Chalet sustained avalanche damage. Going to the Sun Road, chalets and hotels opened late.

The Daily InterLake reported that these late openings were partially responsible for the park’s reduced number of visitors this year, 20% lower than last year’s record highs. The paper noted that “Going-to-the-Sun Road’s July 13 opening over Logan Pass was the latest in park history.”
According to the Glacier National Park Fund, “Many of Glacier’s trails suffered from heightened fallen-tree damage and erosion with most of the high-country trails remaining impassable until late July or early August.” The Fund noted that in addition to the avalanche at Sperry, “significant damage” was found in other structures as well.
The Glacier Park National Park’s call to action campaign, which began with a July 15th fundraiser featuring former First Lady Laura Bush, is raising money to help pay for repairs to trails and historic structures. “Philanthropy has always played an important role in creating and maintaining our national parks and today that need is greater than ever,” Bush said.
So far, $50,000 has been raised. Another $100,000 is needed. If you would like to make a donation in support of this campaign, you can do so on the Fund’s website. The fund notes that “of the 1000 miles of trails 20 years ago, only a little more than 700 miles remain open today.” We don’t need to see more of those spectacular miles fading away during the next 20 years.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of three novels partially set in Glacier National Park, including his new contemporary fantasy Sarabande.
  1. From the forecasts I’ve been seeing, this coming winter will be like the last one too. I view that as very good news for the northwest and the Park despite a little damage to the structures.

    September 27, 2011
    • We’ll see whether Sun Road and the hotels end up opening late again this coming summer.


      September 27, 2011

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