Threats to Glacier National Park
The World's First Peace Park
Located in northwest Montana, Glacier National Park is one of the great wilderness parks of the lower 48 states. The park’s stunning vistas, pristine waters, and abundant wildlife all contribute to its status as a national treasure.
In 2010 Glacier National Park will turn 100 years old. But today, Glacier National Park is endangered. Climate change and several proposed coal and gold mines in Glacier’s Canadian headwaters could forever change this special park.
Glacier National Park has many unique and special designations. In 1932, acts by the Canadian Parliament and United States Congress designated Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and Glacier National Park as the world’s first International Peace Park. In 1995, the United Nations World Heritage Committee designated Waterton-Glacier Peace Park as a World Heritage Site, in recognition of the park’s outstanding universal values.
The international recognition and legacy of Waterton-Glacier continued in 1995 when the World Heritage Committee accepted the bi-national nomination of Canada and the United States to add Waterton-Glacier to the list of World Heritage sites in recognition of the park’s outstanding universal values.
But this legacy is at risk. Proposed coal strip mines, coal-bed methane extraction, and gold exploration in Canadian headwaters of the Flathead River threatens to change this wild and special place forever, industrializing this pristine landscape and river that wildlife depends upon, and we all use for fishing, hiking, and rafting.
In June of 2009 the 33rd Annual Meeting of the World Heritage Committee convened in Seville, Spain. The agenda included a petition sponsored by NPCA and 10 other conservation organizations to have Waterton-Glacier added to the list of World Heritage sites "In Danger."
The Flathead River
The North Fork of the Flathead River is an international river that begins in British Columbia before flowing across the international border. Once in the United States, the river forms the Western boundary of Glacier National Park and is one of the most protected and pristine river valleys in the continental United States.
In April 2009, the North Fork of Flathead River placed fifth on American Rivers’ list of Most Endangered Rivers in the United States. Below is a video showing the downstream geography from an open pit coal mine Cline Mining Corporation is proposing to put in the very headwaters of the Flathead River, just 25 miles upstream of Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park is recognized by the UN as a world biosphere reserve, due to the park’s high degree of biodiversity and intact habitat for rare and endangered species such as the grizzly bear, bald eagle, mountain lion, and wolverine. Glacier National Park is estimated to be home to over 600 grizzly bears.
NPCA and Glacier National Park
NPCA’s Glacier Field Office is leading voice for the protection of Glacier National Park. We cannot allow climate change and strip mines to degrade this international treasure for our children and grandchildren.
To contact or learn more about the NPCA Glacier Field Office located in Whitefish, Montana. Please click here.
View a photo slide show of wildlife and amazing landscape of the Flathead River valley.