Glacier Park, Inc. Terminates 63-year Employee

Tippet worked in an office in the lower level of Glacier Park Lodge at East Glacier, MT.
Tippet worked in an office in the lower level of Glacier Park Lodge at East Glacier, MT.

Ian B. Tippet, an employee with Glacier Park, Inc. (GPI)–the Viad subsidiary that manages hotels at Glacier Park–was terminated by the company February 24th in spite of an understanding that would have allowed the former Many Glacier Hotel manager and GPI personnel director to work as a consultant with the company as long as he’s ready, willing and able.

After Tippet posted an update on his Facebook profile two days ago that his promised position for the upcoming summer season at Glacier Park Lodge would not be continued, hundreds of current and former GPI employees as well as National Park Service personnel began offering their support on his page, via phone and e-mail. At the same time, stunned comments of concern and outrage are being posted on GPI’s Facebook page in the “recent posts by others” listing.

KAJ18 in Kalispell, Montana covered the story in Six-decade Glacier NP employee let go, noting that the last time Tippet didn’t work for the company, Truman was the President of the United States.

“I’m very disappointed,” he told MTN in a lengthy phone conversation from Phoenix Tuesday. “As of today I don’t have a job at Glacier. All I have is the ability to go up to my cottage and twiddle my thumbs. What the hell am I going to do?”

When I spoke to him outside his office at Glacier Park Lodge in September, he was looking forward to coming back this coming summer. I hope GPI will reconsider its decision. If you are a long-time friend of Mr. Tippet or a friend and fan of the park and wish to express your concern about this matter, contact Dan Hansen GPI Marketing and Public Relations Manager in Whitefish, MT at 406-863-4703 or via e-mail at hansen@glacierparkinc.com

Or, you can protest directly to GPI’s top management at Viad Corporation:

Mr. J. K. Fassler, President
Glacier Park, Inc.
Viad Coorporation
1850 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 86004

Update March 1, 2014

Ian B. Tippet updated his Facebook profile a day ago, saying that while he will not be working or volunteering at Glacier Park Lodge this coming summer, he had a personal meeting with the GPI chairman. GPI will continue to provide a cottage as well as meals in the employee dining room, while Mr. Tippet works on his book about life and work in Glacier Park over the years. I’m pleased that GPI had the courtesy to meet with him and attempt to make things right after mishandling the situation at the outset.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell was hired by Tippet as a season employee at the park’s Many Glacier Hotel for two seasons many years ago.

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Review: ‘Glacier Park Lodge: Celebrating 100 Years’ by Christine Barnes

Glacier Park Lodge: Celebrating 100 Years, by Christine Barnes, photography by Fred Pflughoft, David Morris, and Douglass Dye, Farcountry Press (May 2013), 64 pages.

GlacierParkLodgeThe Swiss-style Glacier Park Lodge on the eastern side of Montana’s Glacier National Park was built by the Great Northern Railway (now BNSF) one hundred years ago as a tourist destination for railroad passengers. While the railroad sold its lodging facilities in 1957 and ended its passenger service in 1971, the rustic hotel with its central roof supported by massive Douglas firs has endured through the years as the “Gateway to Glacier.”

Christine Barnes has captured the spirit of the historic hotel with an accurate overview of “Big Tree Lodge” accompanied by an extravagant collection of archival and color photographs in Glacier Park Lodge: Celebrating 100 Years.

If the Great Northern Railway’s transcontinental route from Minnesota to Washington was the grand dream of tycoon James J. Hill in the late 1800s, the hotels and chalets built by the railroad at the dawn of the new century were the great vision and legacy of Hill’s son Louis W. Hill.

“Louis had taken over from his father, James J. Hill, in 1907, but temporarily stepped down in December 1911 to devote his time to railway-financed projects in and around Glacier National Park,” writes Barnes. “‘The work is so important I am loath to [entrust] the development to anybody but myself,’ he explained to the press.”

As a book of memories, Glacier Park Lodge: Celebrating 100 Years describes the establishment of the park in 1910, the building of the hotel in 1912 and 1913, the railroad’s back-country chalets, and the area’s mountains and wildlife. The book includes a bibliography of standard Glacier references, recipes from the hotel dining room and travel information.

With the help of three talented photographers, Barnes’ experience as a veteran chronicler of old hotels allows her to distil salient facts and images into this small-format book in an accessible style. Her other books include Great Lodges of the West, Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park and Great Lodges of the Canadian Rockies. She was the senior consultant and historian on the PBS series Great Lodges in the National Parks which included two companion books.

Glacier Park Lodge: Celebrating 100 Years is a perfect introduction to the hotel for first time visitors and a keepsake for long-time hikers, climbers and other enthusiasts of the Crown of the Continent.

In addition to three novels partially set in the park, Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of Bears; Where they fought: Life in Glacier Park’s Swiftcurrent Valley and “High Water in 1964” in the National Park Service’s Glacier centennial volume A View inside Glacier National Park: 100 years, 100 Stories.