What is it?
The Glacier National Park is a huge, beautiful park that sits on more than 4,000 acres of land in the state of Montana along the America-Canada border. It is, no doubt, among the most beautiful places on the continent. The Park is managed by the National Park Service (now celebrating 100 years) and is headquartered in Montana. The management of the park is tasked with protecting the land and running the day to day affairs. The park is guided by three principles that include preserving and protecting cultural and natural resources for future generations, providing opportunities to understand, experience, appreciate and savor Glacier National Park and celebrating the continuous peace, goodwill and friendship amongst countries, recognizing the necessity for cooperation in this world of shared resources.
History of Glacier National Park
The park dates as back as the early 20th century when explorers such as George Grinnell pushed for the establishment of the National Park, describing the area as the crown of the continent. The park came into being when the then president, Taft, signed the proposed bill and Glacier became the country’s tenth National Park. Since then, the park has undergone a series of developments including the construction of the famous Road-to-the-Sun and a wide array of hotels, spas, and lodges. In its early development days, developers sought to market the area as the Switzerland of America. It is, however, sad to note that most of the initial glaciers have gradually melted and will probably be no more in a few years.
Research and Scientific Activities
Glacier National Park has had a formal research program since the early 1960s. The management staff at the park understands the application of knowledge in running the affairs of the national park and gained through science is important for effective park management. The national park’s main research center is located in the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center. The park has been involved in various scientific investigations of national importance. These include the Grizzly Bear investigation, global climate change, and studies on post-fire burn assessments. Despite most of these being long-term research programs, there are usually several short-term scientific studies carried out by national park specialists.
What to See and Do
Glacier National Park is among the top parks in terms of activities and places to visit. The national park has more than 120 named lakes and more than 1000 species of flora and fauna. Sitting on more than 4,000 acres of land, it is also among the larger national parks in the continent. Visitors have a wide range of activities they can engage while enjoying scenic views of the park. These include boating, kayaking, taking scenic drives, white water rafting, hiking, and golfing in nearby resorts, photography, swimming, biking and many more activities. You need it; we most certainly have got it. The park has more than 270 bird species and more than 70 species of mammals including the lynx, mountain goat, grizzly bear and the wolverine.
Top three things to bring with you when visiting Glacier National Park (GNP)?
- Bear Spray, Bear Spray, Bear Spray. GNP is some of the most densest grizzly bear habitat in the world. These magnificent animals are man eaters so while hiking on the trails at GNP, each adult will want to have a can of bear spray with a chest or holster strap. The best bear spray we’ve found is the Frontiersman Bear Spray with a 35 foot spray range. It could be a life saver. If you are flying, remember you can’t bring it on the plane so have Amazon ship it to your hotel. It’s about 1/2 the price on Amazon vs. buying it in the local stores.
- Buy a high-end camera. Smart phone such as the iPhone are a great tool to have for spontaneous shots but to truly capture the breathtaking scenery buy a high end camera and quality lens. The images you take will last a lifetime. The Canon 1D Mark II is a great one, the Canon 5D Mark IV is still a great camera but just not what the pros will use at the Super Bowl like they do with the Canon 1D series.
- Rain jacket. The east side of Glacier is a rainforest and during the Summer it will rain most every day at some point but them stop and be bursting with sun shine. They say if you don’t like the weather at GNP, just wait ten minutes. The Marmot brand has a quality rain and precipitation jacket at a good price. It folds up into a small ball for easy packing.
For a top 20 list of gear and supplies to bring with you while visiting Glacier National Park (GNP) click here.