Glacier at 100: Preserved Yet Ever Changing - Glacier's park status took courageous, persistent leadership

May 17, 2010

Exactly one century after President William Howard Taft signed the legislation creating Glacier National Park, nearly 1,000 Montanans gathered here on May 11 to celebrate a landscape they love, along with the wisdom and stewardship of the generations who helped preserve it.

“Today, we recognize this anniversary, acknowledging that the story of this landscape is much older than a mere hundred years, and that the story will continue well beyond this significant event,” Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright told the crowd gathered beneath a tent outside the West Glacier Community Building. “Each of us has a personal connection with Glacier National Park – Glacier connects us to the very core of our nature.”

By Dan Testa

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Glacier's park status took courageous, persistent leadership

Guest column by Pat Williams

During the yearlong celebration of Glacier National Park's centennial, it might serve us well to recall the tortured legislative beginnings of that soaring, sparkling place.

Glacier suffered many birth pangs during the legislative route toward designation as a national park. Twenty-eight years earlier its cousin to the south, Yellowstone, had received recognition and status but even that magical geological wonder had to overcome public derision and political opposition prior to its designation by the U.S. Congress.

Here in the Rockies, the passage of laws to protect the landscape has always been difficult. Lines on a map are hard drawn. Fences, intended to create neighborliness, foster initial resentment. Signs that beckon "Welcome" too often read "No Trespass" on the reverse side.

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