Take a walk on Glacier’s trails or a drive along Going-to-the-Sun Road and you will pass by historic cabins, native wildflowers, exhibits about park wildlife and 10 visitor centers and ranger stations. With over 700 miles of trail and nearly 400 historic structures, countless artifacts and archaeology sites, and the storied Ptarmigan Tunnel, Glacier stretches across one million acres of forest, prairie and alpine park land. The Conservancy funds projects and programs that preserve Glacier’s heritage for all to explore in generations to come.
Projects That Need Your Support
NPS employee inspects kayak for AIS / NPS
Prevent Catastrophic Mussel Infestation in Glacier National Park
It’s hard to overestimate what is at stake in preventing the introduction of invasive mussels into the park’s pristine waters and more broadly, to the ecosystem of the Columbia River Basin. One fully mature female zebra muscle can produce hundreds of thousands of eggs in a single season. That’s why inspection of every watercraft – kayaks and paddle-boards included – that launches in Glacier merits a robust public-private partnership that leverages state, federal and private funds to keep the Columbia River Basin free of this destructive invasive species.
Invasive plants cost the National Park Service millions of dollars every year / NPS
Backcountry Invasive Weeds Management
Protecting Glacier’s pristine backcountry wilderness from invasive plants (weeds) is critical to the preservation of this fragile ecosystem. This grant invests in this forward-leaning work by funding a two-person crew to survey, map and treat noxious weeds specifically in and around backcountry trailheads, trail corridors, campgrounds, hitch-rails and cabins across the entire park. This will augment existing front country investments made as part of the park’s ongoing maintenance program and allows for an enhanced focus on protection of the park’s backcountry plant habitat.
Wheelchair friendly parking lot at Mauna Loa Lookout / Janice Wei
Swiftcurrent Accessible Trail
Ranger Dan Jacobs has a really funny story about this significant and continuing project. In short, and stealing one of his favorite phrases, the crux of the biscuit of his story is that while inspecting the most recent section of new, accessible trail a couple of seasoned hikers with their walkers wanted to know if he had anything to do with the trail work. Admitting he did, they thanked him, saying because of the new, smooth accessible trail they could actually talk to one another and enjoy the views while they walked instead of watching their feet the whole time worrying about the footing. This phase of the project will resurface and further improve over 7,000 square feet of trail tread and extend the accessible trail another 1,400 feet.
Bear Traffic Jam Bear traffic jam / NPS
Respond to Increased Visitor-Wildlife Encounters
Authentic wildlife viewing in Glacier is a bucket list item for many visitors. This grant will provide additional wildlife staff to curate safe, meaningful experiences for the public. This investment will also act as a force multiplier by allowing for the training of additional volunteers who can further expand this important work.
Bikers at the loop on Going to the Sun Road / Jake Bramante
Operate Spring Hiker Biker Shuttle on the West Side
Spring is a special time in Glacier. Everything is alive. Rivers and streams are full, birds are everywhere, trails are emerging from under a blanket of snow, and wildlife is becoming more active and visible. The spring hiker-biker shuttle makes the park more accessible during this special time by providing fare free shuttle services from the Apgar Visitor Center to the Avalanche Campground while the Going to the Sun Road is still closed to motorized vehicles. This funding is also invested in bike friendly infrastructure and expanding the volunteer program to enhance the visitor experience.
Rangers Chatting with Visitors / Jacob W. Frank
Preventative Search and Rescue
IThis innovative and impactful program places specially trained staff and volunteers in key areas across the park to advise park visitors about the specific and seasonal challenges present in Glacier with the goal of preventing problems before they happen. After a 15 day stretch of daily rescue operations on the Highline trail, mostly resulting from lack of hiker preparedness, a pilot PSAR project was launched which reduced the number of rescue operations on that trail to zero. Building on that success, this robust and flexible program will operate across the park from May to October responding to changing seasonal issues (snow, high water, heat), potential wildlife conflicts, and other situations where preventative advice from the highly trained PSAR team will increase public safety, reduce cost, help train the next generation of park stewards, and enhance the visitor experience.
Bears on the road near Avalanche Campground 1948 / Philip C. Johnson
Connecting People with Park History: Increase Access to Historical Archives
By investing in this program, Conservancy donors help open the doors for in-person researchers and people around the world to the treasure trove of historical information in the Glacier Archives. As part of the larger Montana Memory Project (MMP), GNPC funding has enabled the park to add 1,210 photographs and document pages to the MMP, and in so doing made these documents available through the Digital Public Library of America, which provides online access to documents and images from cultural institutions across America.
Granite Park Chalet at Dawn / Greg Willis
Granite Park Photovoltaic Replacement
It’s time to update the solar power system at Granite Park Chalet. This necessary system replacement will ensure that emergency radios, communications equipment, and maintenance equipment powered by batteries remain in working condition to serve the hundreds of visitors who hike to Granite Park every day during the summer season.
Welcome to Glacier / Jacob W. Frank
Park Produced Publications
Look no further than the entry gate to see the impact of private philanthropy to the day-to-day operations of Glacier. The park newspaper, funded through this annual grant, is handed to every car entering Glacier and for many represents their introduction to this special place.
Numerous other publications provide free of charge to visitors are also funded through this ongoing program including the Ranger-led Activity Schedule, Backcountry Camping Guide, Bird Checklist, Mammal Checklist, as well as fishing, camping, and boating site bulletins.
Male and Female Harlequin Ducks / NPS
Restoring Harlequin Duck Habitat Along Upper McDonald Creek
Watching a mother Harlequin Duck teach her brood to navigate the Sacred Dancing Cascades on McDonald Creek is one of those experiences that creates a sense of wonder about the beauty of our natural world. The habitat in and around McDonald Creek is critical to the health of the park’s Harlequin Duck population, and this grant will eliminate social trails and restore primary Harlequin Duck habitat along McDonald Creek.
Lake McDonald Ranger Station / NPS
Replace Lake McDonald Ranger Station Barn Roof
Funds for this grant will leverage over $18,000 of available federal support to allow for the installation of a Class A fire rated replacement roof, including complete structural log replacement and roof sheathing, on one of the key buildings servicing Glacier’s backcountry. The Upper Lake McDonald Ranger Station Barn, is a vital component of the historic Upper Lake McDonald Ranger Station complex. The log barn serves as a functional component for shelter and storage of hay, grain, and of riding and packing saddle tack and gear utilized by the local McDonald Sub-district Backcountry Ranger residing at the station during the summer season.
Lake McDonald Ranger / NPS
Employee Health and Wellness
Glacier is a busy place. That’s why it is so critically important to invest in the health and wellness of park staff. This grant continues a successful partnership that invests in expanded equipment for the park’s fitness facility, health screenings to track the impact of the park’s Fitness Challenge program, and expansion of the park’s fitness initiatives.
Winter Rescue / NPS
Improve Winter Emergency Response
In 2017, a ranger responding to a heart attack at Fish Creek jumped on the snowmobile available to him to respond to this critical emergency (snowmobiles are only used in the park for designated “search and rescue” activities or when loss of life is imminent). After a few anxious moments as the engine cut out, sputtered and came back to life, the rescue was completed successfully. The ranger and the injured visitor were lucky. Fully half of the park’s snowmobile inventory is over 15 years-old, and this grant will improve public safety by acquiring two new snowmobiles to upgrade the park’s current fleet of eight.
Many Glacier Ranger Station / NPS
Increasing Ranger Station Staff at Many Glacier Valley
The Many Glacier valley operates essentially like a small town in the summer season, with all National Park Service (NPS) divisions contributing resources toward the greater good. It is through this shared effort that the area can achieve National Park Service goals of high-quality visitor service and safety. The Many Glacier Ranger Station is the focal point for area operations, and this grant will add one seasonal visitor services ranger to provide needed assistance to visitors to the ranger station and support to the rest of the NPS family in the small town that is the Many Glacier Valley.
Hikers on Hidden Lake Trail / NPS
Addressing the Impacts of Increasing Visitation
Increased visitation to Glacier, averaging over 3 million visitors in the past three years, has created an urgent need for actionable data to inform park leadership as they balance resource protection and visitor experience issues. This grant will fund additional staff, counters, cameras and an agreement with the University of Montana to capture and analyze this critical data.
Grinnell Glacier / NPS
Reducing Non-native Plant and Animal Infestation
Trespass livestock is one of the most significant resource threats and concerns to Glacier’s ecosystem. With the planned return of free-ranging bison to Blackfeet lands, and the hope that through the Iinnii Initiative, bison will return to park lands in the very new future, it is critical to first address trespass livestock on the landscape. Over the past couple of years, the Blackfeet Tribe has been actively working to move cattle leases off the boundary of Glacier. This grant would support the continuation of this work by partnering with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation to hire local tribal members to monitor the landscape and begin the work of cattle relocation.
Chewing Blackbones Ceremony / Bob Webster
Crown Managers Partnership
The Crown of the Continent (almost 18 million acres) straddles the international boundary between the US and Canada and is one of North America’s most iconic landscapes. The “Crown” is home to the entire suite of North America’s endemic large carnivores and the greatest floristic and aquatic biodiversity in the Rocky Mountains. At its core is the world’s first International Peace Park – our own Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.
The Crown Managers Partnership (CMP) is a group of land managers in Montana, BC and Alberta, (state, federal, provincial, tribes, first nations and the universities) who collaborate on shared issues that transcend jurisdictional boundaries. The CMP supports educational materials, research management programs and GIS data development, and consolidation to support managers’ work on these shared issues. Working together throughout the Crown is key to protecting Glacier.
Rangers at Logan Pass / NPS
Each year, Glacier hosts a number of groups of dignitaries including international delegations, members of congress, and other officials interested in learning about the park and its programs. Federal law prohibits the expenditure of tax dollars to provide for refreshments or even complimentary items such as pins or maps. This annual grant is anticipated in the Conservancy’s philanthropic agreement with the park to ensure transparency and statutory compliance.
Rangers Provide First Aid / NPS
Emergency Medical Services Program Enhancement
A health emergency is always in the back of everyone’s mind, particularly when we are in a remote area where emergency services might not be readily available. That’s why this project, which expands the park’s existing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program is so critically important. Money raised for this grant will replace three outdated Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in the park, create an interactive database of AED locations, and stock backup batteries and supplies to ensure these critical life saving devices are ready when needed. According to the American Heart Association “early defibrillation, with an AED, can more than double a victim’s chance of survival.” In 2017, a visitor’s life was saved in Glacier through a combination of quick response by park staff, the availability of a Conservancy funded AED, and rapid evacuation by the A.L.E.R.T. helicopter.
Firefighter walking through forest
Firefighter walking through forest / NPS
Fuels Reduction in Greater Apgar Area
Every time we hear there’s a fire in Glacier, our hearts sink. In each of the last two seasons, the very landscape of Glacier has been changed, visitor experiences have been impacted, and resources re-allocated by wildfire. This forward-thinking project will utilize Montana Conservation Corps crews to implement an Apgar Fuel Reduction Plan that will reduce fuels around historic structures eliminating vegetation around the structures. Not only will this work significantly decrease the risk of fire reaching these significant parts of Glacier’s cultural history, but it will also make the structures more defensible for firefighters.
Construction equipment near Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, ca. 1932 / Glacier National Park Archives
Digitize and Preserve Historic Motion Picture Film: Phase 1
An estimated 53 reels of film from as early as the 1930’s are literal time capsules into the history of Glacier. Unfortunately, the motion picture film used to capture President Eisenhower’s address to the National Governor’s Association at the Many Glacier Hotel, the early days of the Going to the Sun Road, and the iconic scenery of the early park was not made to last forever. This grant will begin the process of duplication and preservation of these critical pieces of the park’s history.
Discarded creosote treated lumber / NPS
Remove Creosote Lumber from Quartz Lake Trail
The ongoing, negative impact of the degradation of discarded creosote treated lumber can only be mitigated by removal of the contaminated material. This grant will leverage the generosity of volunteer labor to remove an estimated half-ton of hazardous material in this popular area.
Clark’s Nutcracker / NPS
Restoring Keystone Species: Clark’s Nutcracker, Whitebark Pine, and Limber Pine
No grant request so elegantly speaks to the importance of decisive, forward thinking action to protect Glacier’s complex, interconnected ecosystems. Whitebark and limber pine trees and the Clark’s Nutcracker have co-evolved into a complex mutualistic relationship over thousands of years; a relationship that is dangerously close to collapse. The Clark’s Nutcracker and other wildlife species depend on seeds from these trees for food to survive and raise their young, while nearly 100% of the pine germination comes from seeds cached and then forgotten by the Clark’s Nutcracker. Without viable populations of Clark’s Nutcrackers, there is no natural mechanism for whitebark pine and limber pine germination. Likewise, in the absence of whitebark pine seeds, Clark’s Nutcrackers fail to breed. This program will also plant 4,500 whitebark pine seedlings in Glacier National Park in an effort to begin the long, but important project of regaining this fragile ecological balance.
Historic Dish in St. Mary River / NPS
Cultural Resources Internship
The rich history of Glacier is only as accessible tomorrow as is our willingness to help preserve it today. This grant funds two seasonal interns to assist the park’s Cultural Resources Officer to identify, catalogue, and preserve critical historic documents, buildings, and artifacts.
On its face, this might not look like a very exciting project. Neither did last year’s purchase of a Durapatcher. However, thanks to the generous support of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the Durapatcher turned out to be a very impactful addition to the park’s road maintenance program, and could not have happened without private support. A Hydro-Evacuation unit is in the same category. Locating utilities inside national parks is critical and surprisingly difficult work. This new piece of equipment would make that process safer, faster, more reliable, and less expensive all while reducing the impact on the park’s natural habitat.
Ranger talking to visitor / NPS
St. Mary Auto Shop Tire Machine
This may not qualify the St. Mary Auto Shop to compete with a NASCAR pit crew, but it will significantly reduce vehicle down-time, put rangers back on the road faster to provide visitor services, and improve workplace safety.
Comfort station on Going-to-the-Sun Road / NPS
Grizzly Point Photovoltaic Replacement
Increased park visitation creates numerous challenges to the park’s infrastructure. The comfort station at Grizzly Point – a widely visited stop along the Going-to-the-Sun Road – now experiences demand that exceeds its ability to effectively manage the frequently off-putting olfactory fragrance. Installation of a new solar power system will increase the lifespan of current electrical service, and will allow for the addition of an ozone generator and exhaust fan to improve the visitor experience.
Park ranger using electric car / NPS
Green Glacier’s Rides
Fossil fuel consumption is one of the greatest contributors to our carbon footprint. Reducing the carbon footprint of the vehicle fleet of any national park, or any sizeable fleet for that matter, is both important and difficult. This grant takes an innovative, manageable step toward reducing fleet impact and encouraging electric vehicle use. This project will install electric charging locations in visitor centers, and purchase electric carts to replace gas powered vehicles in three pilot public campgrounds.
Recycling bins / NPS
Increase Recycling Awareness
Changes in the availability of recycling nationally, and more importantly in Glacier Country, have caused a significant reduction in the effectiveness of the park’s recycling efforts. By improving communication with the visiting public about the specifics of park recycling, the park plans to increase the diversion rate of non-construction solid waste (recycling) toward the stated 50% goal established by the National Park Service (Glacier’s fiscal year 2018 diversion rate was only 18.5%). Success of this project will positively benefit the environment and make a meaningful and lasting difference on waste management within Glacier.
Belly River / NPS
Belly River Cultural Monitoring Phase I
Anyone who has read the late Brian McClung’s terrific book Belly River’s Famous Joe Cosley knows how rich and diverse is the cultural heritage of this sometimes-overlooked area of Glacier. Dramatic increases in visitation over the past two decades has caused significant concern about the potential degradation of this special and significant area. This project will employ two with a background in the field of archeology or cultural landscapes as well as two tribal interns to provide a baseline study to identify conditions of sites impacted by erosion along the Belly River corridor and scientific understanding by completing carbon assay to date resources and improve knowledge of prehistoric and historic expression in the Belly River area.
Gracie watching bighorn sheep / NPS
Gracie Refresher Training
With due respect to the best park Superintendent in America, our own Jeff Mow, Glacier’s resident rock star is the internationally know and beloved Gracie the Bark Ranger. Gracie and her handler, award-winning Ranger Mark Biel, have been successfully engaging visitors and creating safe human-wildlife interactions for more than three years since their initial training together. This project would provide refresher training to Mark and Gracie through a continued partnership with the park and the Wind River Bear Institute to ensure continued best practices are being applied in service to Glacier and its visitors.
River ranger rowing on North Fork of the Flathead River / NPS
River Patrol Rangers
2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that pledged to “preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations.” Glacier’s Middle and North Forks of the Flathead River have been so designated, but Glacier has never had a river ranger program to provide education, cultural interpretation, promote safety and encourage stewardship of this treasured resource. This grant would put two rangers on the rivers (one for each fork) to help enhance the mission of the park and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Livingston Range / NPS
Wilderness Character Mapping
Knowing the current “base line” is critical to decision making about future actions. This exciting project would help educate future discussions about Glacier’s wilderness character by compiling its first-ever inventory of all installations and facilities in wilderness areas in the park, giving park leadership a key tool to meet its mandate of preserving Glacier’s wilderness character.
Tents at backcountry campsite / NPS
Create Accessible Camping Opportunities
This project is a game changer. By establishing the first ABA compliant backcountry campground in Glacier, implementation of this grant will open the door to Glacier’s wilderness experience to an entire population of visitors for whom this type of experience most of us take for granted was simply beyond reach. Using proven technology in place to provide mobility impaired access through universal design in places like Trail of the Cedars, the Lake McDonald Campground on the west side of Lake McDonald will be made accessible to campers of all abilities.
Visitors on accessible trail
Accessible Trails Drum Roller
Who among us has not secretly wanted to operate a steam roller? With 4,500 of ABA compliant trails already completed, and another 9,000 more feet on the drawing board over the next seven years, this investment in a piece of equipment the park currently rents ($122/day) will save time and money while at the same time demonstrating the park’s permanent commitment to making sure everyone has a chance to experience the splendor of Glacier.
Backcountry ranger patrolling in Glacier / Lora Funk
Lead Backcountry Rangers
Keeping the wilderness wild is a core value of the park and the Conservancy. As a result of unprecedented increases in annual visitation, Glacier’s incredible wilderness character is increasingly degrading. This program will add two full-time lead backcountry rangers to help address the issues associated with increased visitation. From monitoring for noxious weeds to educating the public on Leave No Trace principles, this project will ensure protection of Glacier’s backcountry.
A bear crosses the road in Glacier / NPS
Create Safe Opportunities to View Wildlife
This project would continue the already proven program of supporting the park’s Visitor Service Assistant (VSA) program by funding and training eight paid positions and additional volunteer positions in high-traffic areas throughout the park. This will create a safer and more satisfying experience for visitors while helping to train a future generation of potential park rangers.
Two goats near Goat Lick / NPS
Goat Lick Wildlife and Visitor Safety Improvements
This project will improve visitor safety and experience at Walton Goat Lick and enhance a much-used wildlife crossing. The east side of the Goat Lick bridge has been a known hazard area for years as visitors congregate on and around the bridge, seeking better opportunities to view mountain goats than the current overlook platform provides. By enhancing existing facilities and improving signage, this project will reduce human safety concerns and turn Walton Goat Lick into a safe, effective wildlife viewing destination.
Sperry Chalet construction in October
Sperry Chalet Historic Documentation
When the Sperry Chalet dormitory building was lost to the Sprague Fire in August 2017, the Glacier National Park Conservancy established the Sperry Action Fund to help restore the historic structure. This project will include a variety of post-rehabilitation projects associated with the rebuild of Sperry Chalet. Thanks to the support of this project, the chalet is scheduled to reopen in the summer of 2020.