Glacier National Park
3 million visitors a year cant be wrong! Home to humans for at least 8000 years that we know of, Glacier Park is a wonder to the eye. Often called the crown of the continent, its hard to imagine that many millions of years ago this was all under sea level. Visit St Mary lake or take a ride on the going to the sun road, a true wonder of engineering. Come and see the glaciers, still carving out the landscape as they pass on through.Glacier National Park is where everything bright and strong and never tamed comes together on high: wolves, white-tailed ptarmigan, storms that hit the Great Divide like tsunamis with golden eagles surfing the wind waves, twisted trees 200 years old but scarcely tall enough to hide a bighorn sheep, impatient wildflowers shoving through snow to unfurl their colors, alpenglow on ancient ice, and great silver-tipped bears.
If you are lucky enough you might even glimpse one of the 900 or so Grizzly bears that are left. This might be so if you travel the going to the sun road, a 52 mile stretch of imagination which cost nearly $3 million dollars back in the 1930′s. There are over 700 miles of hiking trails for you to enjoy but It can get cold here, thats no problem if your coming for the winter sports but when hiking, take some warm clothing as the weather can change dramatically at any time of the year. Campsites are found at St Marys and Apgar.
The Montana refuge is part of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park—1,800 square miles (4,662 square kilometers) of what naturalist John Muir called “the best care-killing scenery on the continent.” Multihued summits—whittled by ancient glaciers into walls and horns—rise abruptly from gently rolling plains. Some 762 lakes, dozens of glaciers, and innumerable waterfalls glisten in forested valleys. A scenic highway crosses the park, making much of its beauty accessible to the casual visitor. More than 700 miles (1,125 kilometers) of trails await hikers and horseback riders.
In 1932 Canada and the United States declared Waterton Lakes National Park (founded in 1895) and neighboring Glacier National Park (founded in 1910) the world’s first International Peace Park. While administered separately, the park’s two sections cooperate in wildlife management, scientific research, and some visitor services.
The tremendous range of topography in Waterton-Glacier supports a rich variety of plants and wildlife. Almost 2,000 plant species provide food and haven for more than 60 native species of mammals and 260 species of birds. In the 1980s the gray wolf settled into Glacier for the first time since the 1950s.
Sheltered valleys and bountiful food have lured people here for nearly 10,000 years. Ancient cultures tracked bison across the plains, fished the lakes, and traversed the mountain passes. The Blackfeet controlled this land during the 18th and much of the 19th centuries.
Remember, guns are not allowed in the park. Hunting is limited to controlled areas only.Always take care not to disturb the area too much if camping or hiking, this is the natural habitat to many different species of wildlife.
But now strip-mining and oil, gas, housing, and logging projects proposed or under way near the park’s respective borders endanger the habitats of both water and land animals, including elk, bighorn sheep, and the threatened grizzly. Park officials and conservation groups are working with the U.S. Forest Service, the Canadian government, the Blackfeet Tribe, and private companies to try to protect critical habitats.
Several millions of tons of coal and other precious resources are thought to lie beneath many areas of the park and there are attempts to make the park a ‘world heritage site in danger’ to protect its natural beauty. The Cline Mining Corp. are hoping to get this permission stating that around 16million tonnes of rock will be removed each year! This claim protesters will have a detrimental effect on all the area downstream from this, with traces of explosives, dangerous metals such as selenium entering the rivers and therefore lakes. This will have a profound effect and the wildlife in the area.
This has soured relations with the Canadian Government over the issue.Ecologists are rightly up in arms over this, the park is seen as one of just a handful of site in the entire world where such diversity of animals and flora are found. It is ironic that the 2 nations declared the area an international ppeace park to signify the friendship between the Canada and The USA.