Your support of the Glacier Conservancy helps fund the park’s Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) Program, and reduces preventable accidents and injuries in Glacier National Park. The program empowers park visitors, employees, and partners to raise awareness about Glacier’s environmental hazards and risks, helping visitors make better informed decisions and have safer visits in the park.
Park Visitation On The Rise
In the past ten years, visitation to Glacier has increased by over 50% from 1,808,027 visitors in 2008 to 2,965,309 visitors in 2018. Additionally, park staff have observed a trend indicating that more park visitors seem unfamiliar with or unprepared for risks they will encounter in the park.
Preparedness Is Key
Data from other parks with similar programs and on the ground experience here in Glacier show that simply ensuring visitors have proper gear, sufficient water, and are aware of the hike they are embarking on can significantly decrease search and rescue calls.
According to Glacier’s Preventative Search and Rescue Strategic Plan, in the summer of 2017, the Highline and Loop Trail saw an unprecedented number of Search and Rescue (SAR) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) incidents due to hyperthermia and dehydration. The call volume exceeded the response capability of Glacier’s emergency services personnel. To address the increased call volume, a grassroots preventative search and rescue initiative was implemented at the Highline trailhead. Through informal interactions, park staff encouraged visitors to assess their preparedness for hiking on the trail. As a result, park staff noticed a decrease in SAR and EMS incidents. The success of these efforts demonstrate how beneficial a proactive PSAR program can be in minimizing emergencies and how PSAR plays an important role in the park’s complete emergency services program.
Keeping Visitors Safe
The goal of PSAR is to keep park visitors safe by increasing their awareness of the risks associated with recreating in Glacier. The program focuses on sharing important safety messages through the use of signs, Glacier’s website, social media, and one-on-one visitor interaction. As a result, visitors are able to make better informed decisions and develop self-reliance as they explore in the park.
Bottom line: Your support of this innovative program will save lives here in Glacier National Park.