Glacier National Park Conservancy

Honoring the legacy. Inspiring generations.

  • Visiting Glacier - Know Before You Go!


    Guest Post by Jake Bramante of Hike734

    My wife is the planner. I, however, am not. While I’m great when things don’t go as planned, they can be abysmal when we show up to a place and stare at each other and say, “So, um, what should we do?

    In smaller national parks such as Crater Lake National Park or Bryce Canyon National Park, you can just show up and see pretty much everything. The same advice for any of these places is always: 1. Show up early and 2. Have appropriate food/clothing/gear. When you come to places such as Glacier National Park, however, it really helps to know before you show up.

    The first thing that you find out when you visit Glacier is that it’s big… really big. With over 700 miles of trail spread out over a million acres, you realize that it will take more than a week or two to see what you want to see. Simply driving until you see something interesting won’t get you very far, and it gets better, the closer to the Continental Divide you get.

    The second thing you find out is that it takes a long time to get from one region to the other. Most show up at the West Entrance near Apgar. To get to some of the amazing trails such as Iceberg Lake and Grinnell Glacier in Many Glacier, you are looking at a 3 hour drive. That puts you in Many Glacier in a time where finding a parking spot is next to impossible.

    If you’ve never been to Glacier before, my first recommendation is to spend an entire day driving Going-to-the-Sun Road. Start early and, on your way to Logan Pass, keep the stops to a minimum to get up to Logan Pass. The scenic parking lot fills up easily by mid-morning in the summer. After that first day, there are many amazing things to do from hiking to paddle boarding on Lake McDonald to horseback riding to relaxing on a porch overlooking Swftcurrent Lake.

    It really does pay to read up. Check on the official site for Glacier at to read the visitor handout before you come. Pick up a variety of resources from maps and guides to determine where to hike as well as a couple about the flora and fauna you’ll meet along the way. The latter will enrich your experience in this amazing landscape.

    So as you think about visiting Glacier, don’t be like me and just figure it out when you get here, follow the example of my wife and plan ahead!

    To plan ahead for your Glacier National Park visit, visit our online Park Store for maps, guidebooks, and more. Proceeds from your purchases support projects and programs to preserve Glacier National Park for the next generation.

  • Sperry Chalet Public Presentation and Open House Planned

    Sperry Chalet after Sprage Fire










    Glacier National Park Press Release:

    West Glacier, MT –  The National Park Service will host a community event entitled “The Sperry Chalet Experience: Past, Present, and Future” to engage with the public, explore the nature of the Sperry Chalet visitor experience, and hear about what pieces of that experience are important to retain as the National Park Service rebuilds Sperry Chalet.

    The program will be held on February 28 from 6:30 -8:30 p.m. at the Flathead Valley Community College Arts and Technology Building, Room 139 in Kalispell, MT.

    “Rebuilding historic Sperry is a priority, and I’m excited the work is moving along,” said Secretary Zinke. “The Conservancy and the park put in a lot of work to stabilize the building for winter, and now we can start to rebuild for future family adventures at Sperry.”

    “We’re excited to kick off our schematic design process for the Sperry Chalet rebuild,” said Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “This is the first of several opportunities for the public to engage and comment and we hope it will be informative to our selected architects as they engage in the design process. Come and tell us your Sperry Chalet story.”

    The first part of the program will feature a 20 minute informative conversation about the park’s chalets, their national historic significance, and the Great Northern Railroad’s influence on tourism and park infrastructure, still in evidence today, with Park Museum Curator Deirdre Shaw.

    Following the history program, the park will introduce preliminary concepts to rebuild the Sperry Chalet dormitory building and host a question and answer session with Park Superintendent Jeff Mow and Deputy Superintendent Eric Smith. Glacier National Park Conservancy Executive Director Doug Mitchell will share an update on fundraising efforts and opportunities in support of rebuilding the Sperry Chalet.

    After the presentation, attendees will be able to share their Sperry Chalet stories in written comment form or with park staff, and offer input about the concepts shared during the program.

    On February 28, the park will also post a newsletter on the National Park Service Planning Website describing preliminary rebuilding concepts with an opportunity for public comment either online or via written letter.

    Anderson Hallas Architects, PC out of Denver, Colorado has been selected to lead the Sperry Chalet concept design effort. Additional public outreach and an opportunity to meet with the architects will be planned for later this spring. Anderson Hallas most recently led the design for the multi-year Many Glacier Hotel rehabilitation which was completed in 2017.

    About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

  • Glacier Ride Charitable Bicycle Ride Funds Two Major Park Projects

    Glacier Ride participants (L to R) Fannie Watkinson, Steve Dakin, and Fan Watkinson pause to take in the scenery along the Going-to-the-Sun Road last summer.

    At dawn one July morning last summer, fifty cyclists from across the country set out from their camp in Apgar to traverse the entire length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. After months of fundraising efforts aimed at supporting sustainability projects throughout the park, this would be the first time many of them would experience the awe-inspiring road.

    The ride, organized by Whitefish based non-profit, Climate Ride, raised a total of $78,000 which was donated to the Glacier National Park Conservancy. Riders have their choice of rides to participate in across the country and specifically chose to ride for Glacier. The funds will provide an upgrade to the Apgar Visitor Center to install a solar energy system and will also fully support this year’s spring Hiker-Biker Shuttle on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

    "I created Climate Ride to give people a uniquely positive way to get involved. Through Glacier Ride, we have helped grant nearly $173,000 to the Glacier National Park Conservancy over the past three years,” said Caeli Quinn, the Executive Director of Climate Ride. “I'm deeply moved to see Climate Ride have such a significant local impact supporting our beautiful national park.”

    “On Climate Ride, I was able to explore Glacier from a new perspective and experience it with my mom who cycled with me,” said Fannie Watkinson, a 2017 Glacier Ride participant. “What better way to spend my time than biking through some of the most beautiful parts of the country with family and new friends, while raising money so that those same lands can be here years from now and appreciated by others?”

    The Apgar Visitor Center is certified LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design); however, the building still uses electricity to operate essential items like computers and lights. Funding for this project will install a solar energy system that would be capable of offsetting the electrical usage of the building by 100%, making it a “net zero” user of non-renewable electricity.

    A 17-kilowatt solar panel system will be installed on the roof or grounds and will be tied to the electrical grid through an agreement with Flathead Electric Cooperative for electrical regeneration possibilities. The system will consist of 50 340-watt panels installed as an array, and would include a kiosk-type monitoring display for visitors and staff to observe output in real time. The project is expected to cost $50,000.

    The additional funds raised by Glacier Ride will be used to operate the Spring Hiker-Biker Shuttle on the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Hiking or biking the 16 miles from Avalanche Campground to Logan Pass before it opens to vehicles each spring is a popular activity for locals and tourists alike. As interest has grown, parking congestion at the trailhead has become an issue. The shuttle allows visitors to park at Apgar Visitor Center or Lake McDonald Lodge and ride with their bikes to Avalanche. The bike trailers were purchased in 2015, also through fundraising from the inaugural Glacier Ride.

    "More than that though, Glacier Ride and Glacier riders like Fannie and her mom inspire us all to think about how experiencing the power and majesty of Glacier Park can lead to transformative action," Mitchell continued.  "One pedal at a time, fifty adventurers turned their individual passion for bike riding and open spaces into a powerful collective action that really moves the needle in terms of preserving this special place for future generations to enjoy."

  • Fire Updates

    There are two active fires within Glacier National Park. The Sprague Creek Fire burning on Mt. Brown and the Adair Peak Fire burning in the North Fork. Road closures and evacuations are currently in place in some areas of the park. For up-to-date information, visit:

    Current Fire Information

    For current smoke conditions, view the park's webcams here:

    Glacier National Park Webcams

  • Glacier Conservancy Appoints New Executive Director

    Columbia Falls, MT – July 6, 2017 – Glacier National Park Conservancy today announced the appointment of Doug Mitchell as its new Executive Director.

    Mo Stein, Glacier Conservancy Chair of the Board of Directors, said: “Doug’s experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors will ensure that the Glacier Conservancy continues to protect and preserve Glacier National Park for generations to come. Doug’s deep Montana roots and his commitment to conservation make him the right leader to expand on our recent success and position the Glacier Conservancy as an even more valuable partner to Glacier National Park. We are thrilled to welcome him to the role.”

    Doug has been deeply involved in service to Montana for decades. He joins the Glacier National Park Conservancy from his current position as the Deputy Director of the Montana Department of Commerce, where he has served for the past four years. Doug previously served as Montana’s Chief Deputy Secretary of State for seven years and as the Montana Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Max Baucus for four years. He has prior experience in land conservation, having been a Managing Director of the Montana Land Reliance for four years, where he helped preserve thousands of acres of land for future generations. Additionally, Doug has extensive experience in the private sector, leading communications firm The Mitchell Group as President and CEO for ten years. He has a BA in Economics and Political Science from Stanford University. Doug and his wife Julie, a Flathead Valley native, have two children.

    Doug joins the Glacier Conservancy after a record 2016 – a year in which it funded 83 percent more projects than the year prior and raised $2.2 million in grants. These donations were funneled toward projects that enhance Glacier National Park, and include maintaining hiking trails, facilitating school field trips and researching Glacier’s habitats. These efforts are more important than ever as visitation at Glacier continues to grow. Last year, park visits increased 25 percent. With more visitors comes an increased need for protection and preservation, and the Glacier Conservancy is committed to delivering on these two important goals.

    “The work being done by the Glacier National Park Conservancy is truly inspiring.  In my view, philanthropy is a team sport, and I’m excited to collaborate with our team, our donors, the park, local businesses, other conservation organizations and the larger community to help protect and enhance the iconic treasure that is Glacier National Park. Working together, we will ensure that future generations have the opportunity to experience the power and majesty of the park the same way we have. It is truly the honor of a lifetime to join such an amazingly accomplished team and to be able to give back to a place that’s meant so much to my family and me. I can’t wait to get started,” said Doug Mitchell.

  • Glacier Conservancy Donates $1.3M in Funding to Park, Begins Year-End Fundraising Campaign


    Students from Muldown Elementary enjoy a field trip to Glacier National Park Students from Muldown Elementary enjoy a field trip to Glacier National Park

    After a record-setting visitation year in Glacier National Park, the Glacier National Park Conservancy has donated more than $1.3 million to the park to help preserve and protect it for future generations.

    “Private donations to the Glacier Conservancy support critical projects aimed at preserving the park’s history, exploring its present, and securing its future,” said Nikki Eisinger, the Conservancy’s Director of Development. “Whether raising funds for the preservation of park facilities or funding the education and outreach programs in the park, the Glacier Conservancy is wholly dedicated to preserving the landscape, its unique history and experience of the park.”

    The $1.3 million contribution is only the first phase in funding for the 2017 park season and represents a more than 100% increase over last year. The donation will fund 44 projects and programs throughout the park.

    The significant increase in funding was requested by the park which faces a backlog of maintenance and higher demand for services due to increasing visitation and is made possible by generous donors both throughout the local community and nationally. From Backpacker’s Ball and Give Back to Glacier Week to Smith’s Round Up for Glacier and the Add-On For Glacier program adopted by many local businesses, support from the Glacier community has been key to this year’s success.

    “The park has so many important projects that would not be possible without the Glacier Conservancy and the generous support from our community,” said park superintendent Jeff Mow. “Our partnership is essential to fund engaging programs that serve our visitors and projects that sustain Glacier’s natural and cultural resources, particularly as we strive to meet and exceed the expectations of our record number of visitors.”

    Projects receiving funds for the coming year cover all corners of the park, including another year of the successful ‘Bark Ranger’ visitor education and wildlife management program at Logan Pass, a new Veteran Volunteer Corps that will bring together veterans with valuable military trades to train for jobs within the National Park Service, and the continuation of the astronomy education program that is attended by more than 30,000 visitors each year.

    “As thrilled as we are about this significant donation, our work is not yet done,” said Eisinger. “To meet the park’s basic program needs, we need to bring that total donated to $2 million by the end of the year.”

    Projects still seeking funds include trail repairs for Preston Park, lighting improvements that will help the park qualify as an International Dark Sky Preserve and a huckleberry research project that will help inform grizzly bear conservation.

    The Glacier Conservancy is the park’s official philanthropic partner dedicated to preserving and protecting the park for future generations. In the four years since the organization was founded, it has funded more than $3.1 million in grants for Glacier National Park.  To learn more and donate, visit


  • Fee Free Entrance Day on 9/24

    Parks Celebrates National Public Lands Day and the first annual Bike Your Park Day

    WEST GLACIER, MONT – The entrance fee for Glacier National Park will be waived on Saturday, September 24, in recognition of National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day is an annual event intended to encourage people to visit and support places like Glacier National Park.

    September 24 is the first annual Bike Your Park Day. This is a do-it-yourself free event in celebration of the National Park Service’s Centennial, and the 40th anniversary of the Adventure Cycling Association.

    Bicycling encourages people in a healthy, affordable, interactive way to explore parks and public lands. It can also assist in reducing congestion, noise and air pollution, demand for parking, and impacts on wildlife.

    Bicycling in Glacier means sharing the roads with both recreational and passenger vehicles of all sizes. Special precautions need to be taken by all visitors to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time. Vehicles need to allow a 3 ft (1 m) distance between their vehicle and bicyclists.

    Bicycles are permitted on all of the roads in the park but are not permitted on trails with three exceptions:

    -         The paved path from Park Headquarters to Apgar Village,

    -         The Fish Creek Bike Path from Apgar Village to Fish Creek Campground

    -         The old Flathead Ranger Station Trail

    A great alternative to biking the busy Going-to-the-Sun Road is the scenic Camas Road.

    For more information on visiting Glacier National Park visit

    For more information on visiting surrounding public lands in Glacier country visit

    For more information on cycling in Glacier National Park please visit

    For more information on Bike Your Park Day please visit

    #bikeyourpark, #glaciernps

  • Current Road Conditions

    Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed for the winter from Lake McDonald Lodge to the foot of St. Mary Lake. Check the most recent road status and weather condition's on the park's pages:

    Current Road Status

    Weather Conditions



  • Secretary of the Interior Visits Glacier

    Courtesy of the Flathead Beacon

    LOGAN PASS – One-hundred summers ago, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act creating the National Park Service, Clements Glacier’s icy mass dominated the landscape just west of Logan Pass.

    A century later, when Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell came to Glacier National Park to mark the Park Service’s centennial, Clements was nothing more than a shrinking patch of snow and a pile glacial moraine.

    “Many of the glaciers in the park never even got a name,” U.S. Geological Survey Climate Change Research Coordinator Daniel Fagre told Jewell while hiking above Logan Pass. “By the time they started mapping the park, a lot of the glaciers were gone.”
    In 1850, there were more than 150 glaciers in this corner of Montana and many of them were still here when Glacier National Park was created in 1910 and when the National Park Service was established six years later. But the glaciers befan to disappear during the 20th Century. Clements Glacier was gone by the 1950s and today only 25 remain.

    Glacier National Park is one of America’s glaring examples of climate change. Fagre, who has been studying glacial recession since the 1990s, said the park’s glaciers are like a bank account for the climate. In some years, they’ll stay steady or even grow, but most years they shrink. It is possible that there will be no more glaciers in the park by 2030.

    “Glacier National Park is on the leading edge, maybe even the bleeding edge, of climate change,” Superintendent Jeff Mow told Jewell.

    Jewell visited the park on Aug. 25, the 100th anniversary of Wilson signing the Organic Act, as part of a nationwide tour to mark the centennial of the Park Service. The weeklong journey took the secretary from the nation’s first park, Yellowstone, to its newest, the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, 87,000 acres in the North Woods of Maine that were recently protected by President Barack Obama. Jewell’s visit to Glacier was meant to highlight the impacts of climate change on the park system as well as how managers are responding to increasing visitation and shrinking budgets.

    Jewell stayed at the Lake McDonald Lodge on the night of Aug. 24 before taking a Red Bus tour to Logan Pass the following morning. There, she joined scientists, park officials and local media for a hike to Hidden Lake.

    “The fact that Glacier National Park may not have glaciers in the future is an incredible opportunity to tell the story of climate change,” Jewell said. “It’s a reminder that we must take drastic action.”

    During the hike Mow talked about the small steps Glacier is taking to promote sustainability in the park, from promoting the use of cardboard water containers to interpretive rangers conveying the story of climate change in their presentations to visitors.

    Jewell and Mow also talked about the impacts increased visitation is having on Glacier and the park system as a whole. In 2015, more than 307 million people visited the country’s parks and this year officials are expecting even higher numbers. More than 1.5 million people have visited Glacier in the first seven months of 2016, a 13.8 percent increase over last year.

    That increase in visitation has created challenges, especially along the park’s main thoroughfare, Going-to-the-Sun Road. The parking lot at Logan Pass and other popular spots is frequently full and congestion is common. But Jewell said busy parks are not necessarily a problem; the more people who are inspired by these public lands means the more people advocating for them, she said.

    “We told people to find their park this year and they listened,” she said.

    Mow and other Glacier Park officials have said this fall they will look at this season’s record-breaking visitation and see what lessons can be learned from it. Last year, after the Sun Road was closed due to a wildfire on the east side, the park instituted a queue system for people visiting Logan Pass. Mow said having people wait an extra hour or two to control congestions at the pass worked well and that the queue system is something they may revisit in the future.

    “So many of our visitors have waited a lifetime to see this place and so if they have to wait a little longer it’s OK with them,” he said.

    Jewell praised the work that Fagre, Mow and hundreds of others at Glacier Park were doing to ensure the park’s future.

    “These lands belong to all Americans,” she said looking across the landscape a Hidden Lake. “And we must make sure that everyone can enjoy these spaces for generations to come.”

  • It's Give Back to Glacier Week!

    The National Park Service will celebrate its centennial on August 25 and kick off another century of stewardship. In honor of this milestone, the Glacier National Park Conservancy is hosting Give Back to Glacier Week August 19-28, a community giving campaign aimed at raising $100,000 for park projects and programs.

    To help with the effort, the Windmill Foundation has offered to match all gifts during this campaign, up to $50,000, to challenge the community to make a difference and double their giving power.

    Every year, Glacier National Park attracts millions of travelers from all walks of life. Those who visit Glacier describe how the park indelibly changes them. From the moment they step out of the car, the park becomes part of their DNA and renews their spirit. Whether it’s the majestic mountains, expansive skies, or a wildlife sighting, Glacier offers a uniquely powerful sense of place that inevitably leaves each visitor with their own Glacier story.

    “The Glacier Conservancy is committed to ensuring a once-in- a-lifetime experience for each and every visitor for generations to come”, said Nikki Eisinger, Director of Development. “We work in close collaboration with the park service to identify Glacier’s greatest needs; we raise funds for projects aimed at preservation, education and research that serve not just the physical landscape, but also the intangible experience of visiting Glacier”.

    Earlier this year, Glacier National Park submitted funding requests for 41 projects to the Glacier Conservancy, totaling over $2 million and highlighting ambitious and new strategies in preservation, education and research.

    Projects that still need funding include the addition of viewing platforms at three popular waterfalls in the park, the reintroduction of bison into the Chief Mountain area and a variety of sustainability projects including new, renewable energy technology for Logan Pass, solar power for the North Fork Ranger District and the replacement of older gas-powered tools with quieter low emissions tools for work in the backcountry.

    There are many ways to support the park and no donation is too small. Donations will be accepted on their website, by mail or at one of the many donation boxes throughout the park and the valley. Glacier Conservancy staff and board and volunteers from Glacier Bank will also be at the west entrance to the park collecting donations on fee-free days August 25 – 28.

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