In her first week as a Science and Resources Management intern, Gabby Eaton learned about native plant restoration at the Glacier National Park nursery, Continue reading
In 1974, 93% of Glacier National Park was recommended as Wilderness. To this day, over 93% of Glacier’s backcountry is managed as Wilderness. Glacier’s trusty fleet of pack stock supports the park’s backcountry programs. From hauling materials and food for more than a dozen seasonal trail crews to servicing the fire lookouts and carrying supplies to and from Granite Park and Sperry Chalets, they also support research crews, volunteers, backcountry patrols and search and rescue efforts.
This program, with a history that extends to the park’s establishment more than 100 years ago, was highlighted in our 2015 Field Guide to Park Project Priorities. Typically, four mules are replaced each year to ensure the herd of 40+ is a strong mix of veteran and younger, stronger stock. Once added to Glacier’s herd, mules will work every summer for up to 20 years and are stationed throughout the park at St. Mary, Belly River, Goat Haunt, Lake McDonald and Apgar.
Nick and Karen Chickering chose to generously support this project for 2015 and the four new mules were recently purchased by the park from K Lazy 3 Outfitters in Big Timber, Montana. Once the mules arrived to Glacier, Nick and Karen stopped by to meet the mules and give them their official park names to be entered into the record books. Jean, Sherman, Stuart and Chick are, by now, settling into their new ranges throughout the park and learning the ropes from the experienced pack mules on the team, and through the ongoing training of the park rangers.
When asked about their desire to support this program, Nick said “While attending The Thatcher School in the 1950’s, we packed with mules regularly. I knew right away when I heard about this project how important the mules would be in the Glacier backcountry.”
We thank the Chickerings for their ongoing support of Glacier National Park, and for helping to preserve and sustain Glacier’s backcountry heritage for generations.
Associates donate to Goat Lick project
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – The National Park Service has selected the Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates as the 2015 Intermountain Region’s winner of the George and Helen Hartzog Award in the category of Outstanding Volunteer Group Service. Hartzog Awards recognize individuals and groups that make exceptional contributions of their skills, talents, and time to the National Park Service.
Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow said, “We are proud that the Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates were recognized as a leader within the region. We greatly value the contributions they make to the park.”
Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates is an official nonprofit and all volunteer partner of the park and is made up of over 100 members. Volunteer Associates work cooperatively with the park to accomplish projects that may not be completed due to insufficient funding or competing priorities. During the summer, members help staff the Apgar Nature Center, Apgar Visitor Center, and the backcountry permit office. Members also assist with various research projects within the park, patrol the back country trails and rivers as backcountry ranger volunteers, and assist with educational efforts at Logan Pass about responsible recreating near wildlife.
In the past year, the Volunteer Associates have donated approximately $7,000 toward remodeling and updating the Apgar Nature Center, formerly known as the Discovery Cabin. The group has also provided more than $8,000 for the backcountry ranger intern program. The Volunteer Associates have sponsored backcountry interns and provided support to backcountry staff since 2008. Additionally, the organization sponsors a high school student intern to assist with the park’s native plant program and associated greenhouse activities at the Columbia Falls High School.
The Volunteer Associates recently donated $18,000 to the park through the Glacier National Park Conservancy, another official park partner, to rebuild the Goat Lick Overlook. This donation is in honor of the Volunteer Associates 25th anniversary. The Goat Lick Overlook is located along the southern boundary of the park, along US Highway 2. It is a popular place for visitors to view a natural salt lick and mountain goats. The donation will replace handrails, posts, plank decking, and the foundation sub-structure at the overlook. In addition to providing funding, members will volunteer to assist with project preparation and on-site construction. The construction is anticipated to take place this fall.
Learn more about the Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates at http://gnpva.org/.
Through your generous donations to the Glacier National Park Conservancy, the Montana Conservation Corps is now recruiting 15-17 year old participants for the Glacier Youth Corps. Members will live primarily in front and back country campsites, near their work locations in Glacier National Park, for one month this summer. Participants will work side by side with expert park staff, corps leaders and historic preservation professionals to improve trails and historic buildings, monitor wildlife as citizen scientists and work with the vegetation management team to restore areas with native plants.
Expedition crew members are taught Montana Conservation Corps' program objectives of communication and team skills, leadership development, environmental stewardship, technical field skills, and embracing a strong service ethic through their crew experience and complementary education.
This program encourages participants to connect with something bigger than themselves. By living and working alongside peers from different communities, members develop a team first mentality that can lead to lasting friendships. Each teen receives marketable know-how and resume experience by completing 160 hours of community service. Participants also obtain a Presidential Service Award and $200 service award upon completing the program.
Visit the MCC's website for more information and to apply.
Imagine sitting in a high school computer lab, mapping scientific data you just collected in Glacier National Park. This project has come to life, thanks to an anonymous gift to the Conservancy.
A new program at Whitefish High School (WHS), supported in part by Conservancy funds from an anonymous donor and the Veverka Family Foundation, was initiated in the 2014-15 academic year that connects Earth Science students with geospatial technologies to enhance their existing field investigation-based method of learning. The intent is developing teacher and student capacity in applying Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and related technologies, aiming to utilize those capabilities to address resource management topics in Glacier National Park. We want to build a partnership that uses long-term projects involving student and park staff. The park Geographer has provided classroom geo-mentoring during the school year, guiding students through GIS exercise that address bull trout conservation and aquatic invasive species control efforts in the Glacier ecosystem. Led by instructor extraordinaire, Eric Sawtelle, students have learned to use ArcGIS software and Trimble Global Positioning System (GPS) data loggers as tools to streamline data collection and extend analysis and visualization capacities. Two current student group projects will help park managers in the months ahead: 1) recent harlequin duck survey and telemetry data and related stream levels are being spatially analyzed to infer habitat preference as it relates to water levels, and 2) known locations of a rare alpine sedge are being used to model where previously unmapped populations may be located.
Conservancy funds were used to purchase eight powerful laptop computers early in 2015, increasing student access to the software, and additional Trimble GPS data loggers will be purchased later in the spring. Field data collection trips are scheduled for May, where the class will collaborate on a land use change project on the park’s west side. Students will present their projects to the community on May 19 from 5:30-8pm at Whitefish High School and the public is invited.