The Glacier National Park Fund has supplemented the park’s declining federal funding to the tune of $3.5 million dollars for the past 13 years. After looking at the rationale for the Fund’s merger with the Glacier Association (reported in September), I believe the combined organization will offer increased support for the park during the next 13 years,
As a member, I enjoy the late-in-the-year mailings that detail how the Fund’s support has helped Glacier National Park during the recent season as well as getting a heads-up on emerging projects.
In 2012, contributions from the Fund helped the park complete repairs on Sperry Chalet (see 2011 avalanche damage post), the lookouts on Scalplock and Swiftcurrent, and the Belly River ranger station. Year-to-year maintenance on trails continues (as always), with an emphasis on the Ptarmigan Wall, Avalanche Lake, and Loneman Lookout trails. Some 3,500 grade school students participated in the Winter Ecology School Program and the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher training. Research work went forward on harlequin ducks, fishers and bats, bear-proof food storage containers were added to campground, and the citizen science program kept up its use of volunteers for countless projects.
You can see a list of the Fund’s 2013 projects online. Here are a few of the highlights:
- The creation of a Glacier Conservation Corps youth group to assist with trail maintenance, weed control and restoration. If the Fund raises $50,000 by December 31, it will receive a matching grant from the National Park Foundation.
- Damage to the popular Highline Trail during a July thunderstorm will require $20,000 in additional repairs in order to safely open the trail during 2013. (I agree with those who say that if visitors take one hike in the park, this should be it.)
- The well-received Citizen Science and Adopt a Trail programs both need additional funding.
Exciting and much needed projects, I believe, that support the Crown of the Continent’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of nonfiction and fiction focused on Glacier National Park, including “The Sun Singer” which is set in the Swiftcurrent and Belly River valleys.