Summer Supplement - 29
The Glacier National Park is considered the Crown of the Continent. Located on the Continental Divide, its melting snows drain into streams and
rivers that flow west into the Pacific Ocean, south to the Gulf of Mexico and northeast into the Hudson Bay. Archeologically, evidence has been found
that indicates this area has been inhabited by humans for over 10,000 years. Several Native American tribes called this area home much later. The
first European explorers sought beaver and fur. They were followed by miners, and eventually the area was settled. Upon completion of the Great
Northern Railway, more people were introduced to this magnificently beautiful area. Valleys were homesteaded. Small towns emerged. In the late
1800s, efforts were made to preserve the area by proclaiming it as a National Park. It wasn't until May 11, 1910, that it officially became America's
10th National Park. Pictured is the Grinnell Glacier Basin. photo / National Park Service
Though his studies, he was instrumental
in securing that designation for the area now
known as Glacial National Park. He helped
survey the area. He named many of the landmarks in the glaciated areas of the Park, and
many park features were named after him. He
was the editor of Forest and Stream Magazine
for over three decades (1876-1911) to showcase it and other areas. It took real effort and
time, but Glacier National Park eventually became the 10th U.S. National Park in 1910
when President Taft signed the bill.
Why is Glacier National Park so special?
Spread over a million plus acres or 16,000
square miles - this park is the twelfth largest
national park in the country. The formation
of the area began 170 million years ago as the
ancient rocks moved eastward over softer sedimentary rock. The current topography is the
result of numerous glaciers carving out Ushaped valleys in the softer rock. Rocks and
sediment build-up was deposited by these glaciers as they melted forming ridges. The hollowed out areas filled with water from the
melting snow over time, forming over 130
lakes large enough to have been named. It is
estimated that in the mid 1800s, there were
approximately 150 glaciers covering this landmass. Currently that number is closer to 25.
Glacier: A large mass of ice and
snow moving slowly down a mountain
or valley. Webster's New World Dictionary
The result of all that preserved carving, sediment build-up and melting snow, has created
an extremely scenic and unique landscape
that should be enjoyed. Waterfalls. Plant life.
Wildlife. What is your forté? And, what is the
best way to enjoy it?
If you have a car, a good introduction to
the Park is to take the Going-to-the-Sun Road
This fifty mile long, two-lane paved highway
extends the full width of the park, crossing the
Continental Divide at the 6,646 foot high
Logan Pass. Along the way, it passes through
forests, lake areas, and alpine peaks. There are
numerous pull-outs to stop for better views of
the landscape features and wildlife. There are
also several other roads throughout the park.
Be aware that the roads can be affected by the
weather and sections may be closed. Certain
times of the year roads may also only be open
Completed in 1932, the road has been
added to the National Register of Historic
Places in 1983. Two years later is was made a
National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. If you do not have a car, or don't feel
comfortable driving through the mountains,
take a bus tour to view this awesome scenery.
Other scheduled activities include Ranger-led
activities like easy walks, all-day hikes, and
boat tours. Fishing, camping, and biking are
also popular. Plus, other guided activities are
available for additional hikes, backpacking,
boating, and rafting on the Flathead River. For
a very memorable adventure, explore Whitefish and Glacier National Park this summer!
Sources include: skiwhitefish.com, visitmt.com,
2018 Far West Skier's Guide - Summer Supplement