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Glacier National Park

Letter From The President

Glacier National Park is experiencing impacts due to a warming climate. The most obvious changes are taking place in the Park’s mountain glaciers. In fact, the glaciers in Glacier National Park are shrinking and disappearing. Today, the Park’s largest glaciers are only about a third of the size they were in 1850, and many small mountain glaciers have disappeared completely. Glaciers are a vital part of the Park’s ecosystems, providing water to mountain and downstream environments. Their loss threatens many natural communities. If the current rate of warming persists, scientists predict the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be completely gone by the year 2020….10 years sooner than previously predicted!

Melting glaciers are symbolic of other changes to Glacier Park’s ecosystems. Forest fires could become more intense and more frequent, as could avalanches and spring flooding. A warming climate will affect streams, wetlands and lakes, and their aquatic species, land dwelling animals and their habitats, and plants, with the possibility of extinctions. It will also affect insects, migration patterns, landscapes, historic natural areas and artifacts, and of course, the ability of visitors to truly enjoy the Park as they have in the past. Outside of the Park, sea levels could rise to where coastal cities would be flooded. The question now is, “What can we do?”

While the Earth’s climate is known to have gone through natural warming and cooling cycles, there is strong evidence that the warming trend over the last 50 years is primarily the result of human activities. Natural “greenhouse gases” that contribute to the warming of the earth are increased by the burning of fossil fuels to run cars, trucks, trains, and planes, heat homes and businesses, and power factories. Increased agriculture, deforestation, landfills, industrial production, land conversion to cities, and mining also contribute a significant share. And although most greenhouse gases that impact Park resources are emitted from outside the Park, they are also emitted directly inside the Park as a result of various in-Park activities, such as visitor automobiles, concessioner operations, and wildfires. We, at Glacier Park, Inc., realize there are changes we can make to help lessen the impact of climate change in order to conserve the Park’s natural and historic wonders.

Glacier Park, Inc. is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing our waste stream, revitalizing our recycling program, increasing our “green” procurement, becoming more energy efficient, including expanding our energy efficient transportation fleet, and by motivating our employees and the public by setting an example and by encouraging them to take action along with us. With this Environmental Management System, Glacier Park, Inc. has a plan in place to guide us in our efforts toward environmental stewardship, to “lighten our footprint” and that of our employees and guests, and to help “protect, preserve, and conserve the integrity of the natural and human environments at Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park for this and future generations. ”

Ron Cadrette
Vice President/General Manager