Photo: NPS/Andrew Smith

Who doesn’t love a great podcast? There seems to be a genre out there for everyone nowadays. Take a quick look at a podcast app and you can find programming about news, comedy, true crime, sports, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Now, thanks to your generous donations, there is a new podcast hitting the airwaves soon that’s all about Glacier National Park.

Michael Faist and Andrew Smith, Visual Information Specialists for Glacier National Park, are hard at work creating the first season of this brand new park podcast featuring stories that take place all over Glacier. “This project is important,” Andrew comments, “because it will allow people, whether they’re here or not, to hear deep and meaningful stories about the place.”

Your generous support is making this innovative new project possible. The Conservancy recently had the chance to catch up with Michael and Andrew to hear all about how production has been going so far. Keep reading to learn more, and stay tuned later this year for the launch of season one.

Glacier Park Podcast Launching This Fall

As visitation to Glacier National Park continues to rise, the park’s audience also continues to rapidly grow on social media. Considering these fast changes, park staff realized a huge opportunity to connect with young people through the creation of a park podcast.

With your generous support, the park’s media team has been able to plan and outline the show this year, including writing stories for multiple episodes, casting the perfect hosts, and purchasing professional recording equipment to bring the podcast to life. Throughout the summer, the hosts and producers of the show have interviewed dozens of people to tell stories in different areas around Glacier.

As the summer winds down, the team is now switching over to the arduous process of editing the series, which involves reviewing hours of audio recordings and condensing them into engaging 20-40 minute episodes that will captivate listeners.

Peeking Into Podcast Production

The Conservancy recently had the chance to virtually connect with Michael Faist and Andrew Smith, the hosts of Glacier’s new podcast, to hear all about how production has been going so far.

Glacier National Park Conservancy (GNPC): Tell us a little bit about the podcast and what your roles with the project entail.

Andrew Smith (AS): The Glacier National Park Podcast is going to be a This American Life-style show highlighting some of the wild and fascinating stories from Glacier’s past, present, and future. It features interviews and field audio from scientists, rangers, local tribal members, and all sorts of people who have spent time in this area. We’ve spent the summer recording tons of stories with some of the most interesting people who work in the park. This fall we’ll be editing all of that tape into a full season of wonderful audio content for people to enjoy while they dream about the return of summer and their next visit to Glacier!

Michael Faist (MF): If I had to describe the podcast project, I would say this: Glacier’s podcast project is the chance to tell meaningful and engaging long-form stories about Glacier to a worldwide audience. In principle, it’s similar to an interpretive program you can attend in the park, but the medium follows in the footsteps of shows like Radiolab and This American Life! My role is essentially to be a producer and editor of the show. We workshopped stories we wanted to tell through the podcast, and have conducted interviews to support these stories. I’ve conducted 14 interviews this summer all throughout the park on topics like the wildfire, the worldview of Kootenai and Amskapi Pikuni people, traditional foods, receding glaciers, pit toilet management, and more!

Two national forest river rangers float on a kayak while being recorded for a podcast

Photo: NPS/Andrew Smith

Ranger Andrew Smith records some Flathead National Forest river rangers for a day in the field while they perform work on the North Fork of the Flathead River.

A hand holds out a tooth fossil
A pencil sits next to snail fossils imbedded in a rock

Photos: NPS/Michael Faist

Tooth and snail fossils were just a few of the discoveries from a day of viewing insect fossils in the Kishenehn formation. The story will be featured in an upcoming episode of the new Glacier podcast.

GNPC: How has production been going this summer? Any highlight stories so far?

AS: For both of us, this has been an incredible way to spend the summer. Basically we thought about the most interesting things that happen here, then we tagged along and did those things with a microphone, meeting some amazing people along the way! For me, a highlight was a story where we tried to find a rare plant that grows nowhere else in the US Rocky Mountains and is disappearing as a result of climate change. After over 10 miles of hiking then about 2.5 hours of searching, we finally found it. To get to witness that flower before it disappears was a really moving experience.

Another highlight has been talking to folks about the Native America Speaks program. When we talk to people who have been involved, it has meant so much for that platform to exist and for visitors to the park to be able to hear the Indigenous stories of this place right from the source. What a rare and special opportunity for people from different cultures to be able to connect in such an authentic and genuine way. We’re hoping to bring that spirit to the podcast as well, and let these stories be heard even during the pandemic, when face-to-face gathering isn’t possible.

MF: Production has been going well! We’re shifting modes from recording content to editing, assembling the pieces we gathered this summer into final stories. A highlight from my time recording so far was spending the day with Kurt Constenius and Dale Greenwalt, exploring the Kishenehn formation for 43 million year-old fossils. We found insects like mosquitoes, snails, and even a tooth that may have belonged to a hippo!

GNPC: When can we look forward to the launch of Season One?

AS: The entire first season will be released this fall for people to binge!

Two park rangers walk along the shore of a river collecting insect fossils.

Photo: NPS/Michael Faist

Ranger Michael Faist spends some time in the field finding fossils in the Kishenehn formation for an upcoming episode of the new Glacier National Park podcast.

Season One Coming Soon

Stay tuned for more updates to come this fall about how you can tune in to the new Glacier podcast.

Your Support Makes A Difference

This project and many other critical projects would not be possible without your donations to the Glacier Conservancy.

Learn more about how your support is making other projects possible in Glacier National Park!