Leave No Trace Principle #5: Minimize Campfire Impacts Wildfire is an important part of Glacier’s ecosystem, but best to leave fire management to the experts. By practicing safe and responsible fire etiquette, we can ensure the park stays healthy and we don’t cause excess harm. Keep fires small, and only have them in designated fire pits, or else use a camp stove. Be sure to put out fires completely at the end of the night. For more information on the leave no trace principles, visit: https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/leavenotrace.htm #leavenotrace #campfiresafety #glaciernps #glaciernationalpark #staysafeinglacier
In 1929, the Going-to-the-Sun Road opened to the public between West Glacier and Logan Pass. That first year, back when a gallon of gas cost 21 cents, nearly 14,000 vehicles made the journey to the top. In the 90 years since then, the Going-to-the-Sun Road has only grown more popular. Whether encountering wildlife, seeing snow for the first time, or driving along the continental divide, it is a truly unforgettable experience. While it took a great deal of effort to build, it's also a lot of work to maintain. To protect the road and the experiences it offers, pavement preservation crews have been at work this year. These efforts prompted short travel delays throughout the summer, but next month they are expected to cause a closure. From September 16-29, the park is anticipating a full closure, day and night, on the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road between Avalanche Creek and Logan Pass. Visitors will still be able to reach Logan Pass from the St. Mary entrance and should plan accordingly. To see the current road status, check out the Road Status page: https://www.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm
Built by the Great Northern Railway around 1915, the Many Glacier Hotel’s early décor featured an eclectic combination of styles drawn from the American West, the Swiss Alps, and Japan, as seen here in this T. J. Hileman photo taken ca. 1931. In the hotel lobby, bearskins and bison skulls adorned the railings of the upper floors while paintings of western landscapes hung on the walls. Japanese lanterns floated overhead, a subtle reminder to guests that the Great Northern Railway also offered steamship services to Japan and the Far East. All of this was contained in a building whose architecture was meant to evoke the chalets of Switzerland—another purposeful choice by the Great Northern, who marketed Glacier as the “Alps of America.” With the completion of the Many Glacier Hotel rehabilitation project in 2017, many of these original décor elements have been restored in some fashion. The double helix staircase that was removed in 1957 has been rebuilt, and the new lighting fixtures share the distinct shapes of the Japanese lanterns that were removed in the 1930s. As a result, today’s hotel is now closer in spirit to what it was like in 1915. #ThrowbackThursday [Image description: Paper lanterns with Japanese characters on them hang from the ceiling in a hotel lobby.]
Is all wildland fire bad? No, fire is a natural part of Glacier’s ecosystem. Many species have adapted so they actually need fire to thrive. The destructive nature of fire clears space and recycles nutrients for native species. Have you ever experienced a destructive force in your life that ended up allowing for new growth? Share it with us in the comments! #GlacierNPS #FireFacts
Today’s Tuesday Tea ☕: Your Instagram photos are not pretty if they are pretty disrespectful. Social media posts can encourage others to copy your shot. What are you putting out into the world? We hope that your posts will strive to #ProtectGlacier with us! Only upload posts that respect the park and everything in it. Tag a friend who you want to share this message with 😃. #LeaveNoTrace #TuesdayTea
In 1966, the Glacier National Park had 35 named glaciers large enough to be considered active. In 2015, there were 26 active named glaciers remaining. The park also has many permanent snowfields and some inactive glaciers that are no longer large enough to be defined as active glaciers. The average area reduction was 39 percent, though some lost as much as 85 percent. This trend of glacier retreat is expected to continue as temperatures rise. #GlacierWatch #GlacierNPS #GlacierFacts
As summer marches on, the sun sets earlier each day, painting the world in a soft, warm glow, and casting long shadows upon the day's adventures. Many of Glacier's most memorable sunsets happen in August. While you're not likely to forget an evening here in the spring or fall, those of late summer often seem more colorful and more intense. Why is it that sunsets can seem more vibrant this time of year? The answer, interestingly enough, lies with wildfire smoke. Smoke in the air reflects the light around it, meaning it amplifies the colors present in the sky at the time. When smoke is high in the air, this effect can create rich, brilliant sunsets. However, smoke can limit visibility when it is low-hanging. Glacier currently does not have any active wildfires burning within the park boundaries, but smoke from all over the continent can still affect the park. Smoke-related visibility and air quality can impact visits this time of year. To see if smoke is impacting visibility in Glacier now, you can check out the webcams located throughout the park at: https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm
Being in the mountains in the summertime definitely increases your chance of seeing a thunderstorm. But why? Mountains can force warmer air masses to rise further. As the air rises and condenses, it forms clouds. If the clouds keep rising, they’ll get cold enough for ice particles to form. Inside the cloud, downdrafts and updrafts whip water droplets and ice crystals around, creating areas of opposite electrical charge. Positive charges concentrate in the upper cloud, with negative charges at the bottom. The ground below the thundercloud gathers positive charges in attraction to the negatively charged cloud above. Once enough electricity builds up in the cloud, it has to go somewhere... A massive transfer of energy starts with a “leader” of negative charge coming down from the cloud. Once it gets close enough to the ground, a stream of positive charges come up to meet it. With this connection comes a huge burst of electricity -- lightning. Do you know how to stay safe when lightning strikes? Where was the craziest lightning you've ever seen?
Leave No Trace Principle #2: Travel on Durable Surfaces Glacier has more than 700 miles of trails that will take you everywhere you need to go. In some highly sensitive areas there are boardwalks which are especially important to stay on to avoid damaging fragile vegetation. It is also important to be sure you aren’t walking on the edge of the trail. Some of Glacier's busiest trails have been widened more than 10 feet by spread out hikers! #leavenotrace #leavenotraceweek #protectglacier #glaciernps #glacierlove @LeaveNoTraceCenter
Happy #FriendshipDay 🤗 We've been enjoying 87 years of friendship with Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada! In 1932 The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park was created and was the world’s first international peace park. Today, the parks collaborate in preservation, fire management, and research efforts. #Goals #GlacierWaterton
How do you plan a trip to a national park? If you're searching for a place to stay, choosing a hiking trail, or deciding on a picnic spot, visiting Glacier means making a lot of choices. While you can always ask a ranger for information, one of the best resources for all things trip planning is the Official Summer 2019 Newspaper. Savvy travelers can begin to make a plan by browsing the newspaper before a trip. Keeping it handy during your visit can save time and trouble. From information about the fare-free shuttles to the park’s ever-changing glaciers, this guide has it all. You can find it online here: https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/upload/2019-Glacier-Waterton-Guide_508.pdf
The years 1926 and 1929 were big fire years in the park. 🔥 In 1926, 50,000 acres burned as the result of more than 23 different blazes. In 1929, the notorious Half Moon Fire consumed more than 100,000 acres in the park and surrounding areas. These fires spurred a campaign by the National Park Service to create a system of fire lookouts in every district in Glacier that would improve early fire detection. One of the first lookouts was on Apgar Mountain. In 1927, a lookout tent was used initially, followed by an elevated platform tower and cabin built in the spring of 1929. However, just weeks after completion, the 1929 Half Moon Fire swept through and destroyed it. The following spring of 1930, the lookout was quickly rebuilt and still stands today. This photo, likely taken soon after the lookout’s reconstruction in 1930, shows the new lookout amidst the effects of the Half Moon Fire. If you hike to Apgar Lookout today, the trail passes through a landscape marked by the effects of yet another fire. The 2003 Roberts Fire swept across the southern face of Apgar Mountain (but spared the lookout ) and although new vegetation is growing, it still makes for a very hot, dry hike on a midsummer day. Be sure to get an early start and pack plenty of water for this steady uphill climb. #ThrowbackThursday #tbt (This photo, along with photos of other lookouts, is part of the Glacier National Park Historical Photographs Collection on the Montana Memory Project: https://mtmemory.org/digital/collection/p16013coll83/id/224 ) [ #Alttext A two-story lookout cabin sits on a mountaintop, surrounded by burned tree stumps. Two horses stand nearby and mountains are in the distance.]
Make sure to pack your patience when you visit Glacier National Park. Parking is not guaranteed. Time-lapse: Logan Pass on a Tuesday in July. #Alttext : a time-lapse of a busy parking lot at the Logan Pass Visitor Center.
Glaciers shrink when summer melting outpaces winter snow. Despite occasional big winters or frigid months, the glaciers are melting as long term average temperatures increase. Throughout earth’s history, glaciers have naturally grown and receded with changing climates. Currently, human-caused climate change is resulting in increasing temperatures that are melting the park’s glaciers. Over the last 100 years, the planet’s surface has warmed by about 1.5°F. In recent years, Northwest Montana has warmed at about twice that rate. This rapid rate of warming has a wide variety of impacts on the park, including shrinking glaciers. #GlacierWatch #GlacierNPS #GlacierFacts
Last week, visitors to Glacier encountered rain, snow, hail, and wind. This week? It's been HOT! ☀️ Tuesday hit 94°F in West Glacier. 😓 It's finally starting to feel like summer. Warm summer days can offer incredible views and ideal camping weather, but the heat can be a big problem for hikers. Dehydration and heat-related illness can make easy hikes difficult and strenuous hikes dangerous. The best way to beat the heat is to prepare! Bring plenty of water for everyone in your party. 💧 Many trails in the park offer little to no shade, so wear a hat, protective clothing, and sunscreen to minimize sun exposure. Finally, plan your hike so you can avoid exertion during the hottest parts of the day. For up-to-date weather information, check out the Current Conditions page of our website: https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/conditions.
We wish we could predict how many fires will occur, where and when they will burn, and how large they will be. The best we can do is look at the trends. Statistically, the time of year that is most likely to have a large wildland fire is late summer to early fall. Are you planning a trip to the park during peak fire season in August or September? Here are some ways to plan head: 1. Check out fire conditions in Glacier National Park before you arrive. If there is a fire, check to see if it is limiting access to some areas of the park. 2. Take a moment to look up the current air quality, smoke from nearby fires can impact your health and the park views. 3. Sensitive to poor air quality? Try to have a few other travel options and remain flexible in your plans. On the other hand, June 2019 had roughly 2.5 times the amount of rain than in June 2018. The rain may have decreased the risk of fire, at least in the short term. However, the fire risk still exists and the weather in July, August and September will greatly impact the 2019 fire season. #FireFacts #GlacierNPS
No, it’s not a Troll doll -- it’s a wildflower! This is Geum triflorum (prairie smoke ), a native wildflower. If conditions are right for a big wildflower bloom, what else might flourish? Weeds! Invasive plants can thrive outside their native environments, taking over and reducing native habitat for wildlife. At least 127 nonnative species of plants have infested over 800 sites covering 2500 acres in the park. What’s your favorite native wildflower in Glacier? To see a full species list of native and nonnative plants in the park, visit https://www.nps.gov/rlc/crown/species-list.htm Photo: NPS / M. Sladek
The Ptarmigan Tunnel was built in 1930 to connect the Many Glacier valley with the Belly River drainage. Previously, people would go over Red Gap Pass to travel between these areas. A park employee in 1931 described the Red Gap route as a “depressing climb” and claimed the new Ptarmigan Tunnel route would save “ten long miles of torture” and “a full three hours of fatigue.” The 250-foot-long passageway was constructed in less than three months using two jackhammers drilling from either side of the tunnel and a series of ten-hole rounds of dynamite. In 1975, heavy iron doors were installed on either side of the tunnel to block out the winter snow. The doors are typically open mid-July through October 1st, weather permitting. The doors opened on July 11 this year. This 1932 photo by George Grant, taken a year after the tunnel officially opened, shows a horseback party enjoying the southern view from the tunnel, dominated by Mt. Wilbur in the center.
Caution! Snow fields can persist through the summer and are a hazard. This bear found out how hard it is to stop and regain balance once you start slipping on snow. Crossing snow and ice can lead to serious injuries and even death. Consider turning around instead of crossing a snow field, especially if you don’t have the proper gear. We are happy to report that no bears were injured during the filming of this video! Thank you to Jacob Hartman, @wacoby0901 , for sharing this video with us. We can BEARly believe that you were able to get this footage. #alttext a #grizzlybear half runs, half slides down a snow field.
Don’t mix these two up! Anything you bring into a national park, you must pack out or dispose of in a proper trash receptacle. Do not hit golf balls into canyons and valleys, do not leave used diapers on the sides of trails, do not toss your apple core because you think it’s natural. National parks have been called America’s best idea. Don’t treat them like a garbage can. What trash have you picked up and carried out of a national park lately?
The park's glaciers are estimated to be at least 7,000 years old, but we don’t think they look a day over 6,900! They peaked in size in the mid-1800s, during the Little Ice Age. Millions of years before that, during a major glacial period known as the Pleistocene Epoch, enough ice covered the Northern Hemisphere to lower sea levels 300 feet. In places near the park, ice was a mile deep. The Pleistocene Epoch ended around 12,000 years ago. #GlacierWatch #GlacierNPS #GlacierFacts
No matter the size, shape, or age, dogs are great companions. There's a reason they're considered our best friends! Why is it then that dogs are not allowed on Glacier's trails? The answer lies with our most famous resident: grizzly bears. We have a lot here. In fact, Glacier National Park is home to 250-300 grizzlies. While these formidable creatures are intimidating, grizzly bears prefer to avoid confrontation. Only when they are threatened or provoked will they respond with aggression. Unfortunately, dogs are shown to escalate otherwise non-threatening encounters with bears. Despite their good intentions, a dog's bark, growl, or even posture can be enough to turn a bear sighting🔎 into a confrontation 💥. To keep dogs (and their owners ) safe in the park, they must be on a leash shorter than six feet at all times. Dogs are only allowed to go where cars can drive and the Apgar Bike Path as pictured here. If you have a photo of you and your dog safely enjoying Glacier, we'd love to see it in the comments below! For more information, visit our pets page: https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/pets.htm
50 years ago today, Apollo 11 entered into orbit around the moon. The next day, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin changed the world, becoming the first people to set foot on the moon. Americans observed the night sky with a different perspective from that point forward. Some were inspired to become scientists, astronomers, even astronauts themselves. That summer, Glacier National Park exceeded 1 million visitors for the first time. Perhaps that summer’s visitors gazed at Glacier’s night skies with a new fascination. Dark night skies, free of light pollution, let us see, wonder, and learn about the cosmos. They're also crucial for the survival of many animals and plants. Waterton-Glacier is a designated International Dark Sky Park, with a long-term commitment to preserving dark skies and meeting specific objectives. Whichever generation you’re part of, take a moment today to think about what you've seen in the night sky that inspired you. NPS Photos. #Apollo50th
Have you ever driven Going-to-the-Sun Road? With jaw-dropping scenery around every turn, it's one of the main reasons people choose to visit! But with sharp corners, animal sightings, and traffic, driving the road demands our full attention. Just this week, the park responded to minor accidents, vehicles that swerved off the road, a bicycle crash, and wildlife collisions. These incidents required technical rescues, emergency helicopter flights, and were responsible for backing up traffic for over 10 miles. If you're driving through the park, be prepared for unexpected wildlife sightings that may stop traffic. Pull off the road to safely enjoy the scenery, and know your limits after a full day's adventure! For more information on using the Going-to-the-Sun Road, visit our website at: https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/goingtothesunroad.htm
When you think of Glacier and potholes, you probably think about the ones on the way to Polebridge Mercantile or Many Glacier. But have you ever heard of a prairie pothole? Prairie potholes formed with the retreat of glaciers, leaving millions of little depressions in the ground. Today, those dips fill with water, creating wetlands that can be temporary or semi-permanent. The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR ) is a region of the Northern Great Plains that includes parts of northern Montana. It provides breeding habitat for up to 75% of all North American waterfowl. This includes species found in Glacier like Barrow’s Goldeneye, Redhead ducks, and Trumpeter swans. These wetlands have been reduced by half by conversion to agricultural land. They are also vulnerable to increases in temperature and corresponding changes in precipitation. Have you ever seen a prairie pothole?
Have you been in the park this week? A search is underway for this missing man last seen near Logan Pass along the Highline Trail on Monday afternoon. For more information or how to report a sighting (406-888-7077 ), please see the press release. https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/19-42.htm
Is your alter ego a mountain goat? If you spend your free time scrambling around in the high country, the park’s mountain goat project needs your help. Oh, did we mention it involves picking up poop? This season we've added scat collection to our mountain goat project protocol. Doing DNA analysis on scat is a non-invasive way to get information about mountain goats in the park. If you’d be willing to pick up some pellets for us, contact glac_citizen_science @nps gov!
Hoping to see one before they are gone, many visitors come to the park to see a glacier. Ironically, Glacier National Park isn't the easiest place to see an active glacier. Massive glaciers can be viewed with relative ease in Alaska's national parks. @kenaifjordsnps and @glacierbaynps are known for their glacier viewing. In the contiguous United States, glaciers can be seen in @mountrainiernps @grandtetonnps and others. It is actually North Cascades National Park that boasts the highest concentration of glaciers in the lower 48 but Glacier National Park comes in second with about two dozen active glaciers. Most of the park’s glaciers are tucked into shadowy niches high along the Continental Divide, cloaked by semi-permanent snowfields. Still, a few glaciers can be seen from the road, a few others can be seen from a short hike, and others can be studied up close after a strenuous hike. Binoculars and a park map can help you tell the difference between snowfields and glaciers throughout the park. Late August and early September, when most of the winter's snow has melted away, is the best time to see the glaciers. Jackson Glacier Overlook, on the east side of the park, is the easiest place to see a glacier from Going-To-The-Sun Road. Our website (link in profile ) has more information on how to our glaciers. Where have you seen a glacier? #GlacierFacts #GlacierGeology
Are trees adapted to wildfire? Lodgepole pine trees sure are! Some of their cones are sealed with a resin that melts in high temperatures. These cones rely on fire to melt their outer coating so they can release seeds and new trees can grow. Not all lodgepole pine cones are like this--so these trees can reproduce with or without fire--but they have this advantage over other tree species when bouncing back after a fire. 🌲🔥 How have you adapted to fire? #FireFacts #GlacierNPS Image: A slightly burnt lodgepole pine cone open against a white background.
What is the most dangerous thing in Glacier National Park? You might guess grizzly bears but accidents near the park’s water features (think rivers, lakes, streams, and waterfalls ) cause the most fatalities. So use extra caution around water. 🌊🚧 Have you had any close calls with water? Share your lessons learned in the comments. #GlacierNPS #Alttext Blurred water spills over St. Mary Falls.