Principle 8 - Protect and Enhance Destination Appeal

Encourage businesses to balance usage with protection of resources.

The Crown of the Continent is truly one of a kind and something so special it requires protection. Fortunately, the area boasts a number of organizations filled with individuals dedicated not only to protecting the area and its natural and cultural resources, but enhancing it. Two great examples of these types of organizations are the Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation.

Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates (GNPVA) GNPVA Logo

The GNPVA is a non-profit organization and one of the three official partners of Glacier National Park. Since 1989, their purpose has been proper care, protection, management and preservation of Glacier National Park. Education of the public to the needs and purposes of the Park is also an important facet of their activities. The association depends on financial support from membership dues, public donation and a handful of fundraising activities. Because they are 100% volunteer and have minimal overhead, nearly all funds received are reinvested in special Park projects such as:

  • Financial support and volunteer hours to the Discovery Cabin, visitor center and native plant nursery
  • Sponsorship of a Ranger Intern in the park each summer
  • Sponsorship, in cooperation with Columbia Falls High School, of a native plant intern involved in re-vegetation / reforestation activities in the high school greenhouse during winter months and on site in the Park during the summer
  • Construction of the quarter mile long wheelchair accessible trail at Many Glacier
  • Sponsorship of an annual winter speaker series, free to the public, consisting of three informative lectures related to some aspect of the Park.

GNPVA volunteers have been very active in restoration and maintenance of historic buildings throughout the Park, including:

  • the 1913 St. Mary’s Ranger Station
  • Heaven’s Peak, Apgar, Mt. Brown and Scalplock Lookout towers
  • Matejka Cabin & McCarthy Cabin (both on the Inside North Fork Road)
  • West Glacier Fire Hose Tower
  • Several back country Ranger Stations
  • New construction of the Red Rock Overlook on McDonald Creek (1.4 miles above Avalanche Campground)
  • Replacement of the bridges on the Many Glacier Equestrian Paths

In 2013, GNPVA members performed approximately 6,745 hours of volunteer work which converts to approximately $140,000 in “in kind” contributions. GNPVA members have the opportunity to enjoy a wilderness experience while, at the same time, giving back to Glacier National Park.

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Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation (BMWF) bmwf-logo

The BMWF connects Americans with wild places by offering volunteer vacations that give back to America’s wilderness.  When you sign up for a BMWF “volunteer vacation,” the Foundation supplies food, logistics, pack support, a skilled and humorous crew leader, and sometimes a chef for your journey into one of the world’s most spectacular places – Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex (BMWC), the crown jewel of the Wilderness System. Annually nearly 400 volunteers, including youth, give back to their wilderness by opening trails, restoring heavily used areas, maintaining historic structures and fighting noxious weeds. BMWF accomplishes its mission of active wilderness stewardship through cooperation with the United States Forest Service.

Since its inception, Foundation volunteers, partners, and donors have contributed to the maintenance of nearly 5,000 miles of trail;  that’senoughtrail to stretch from Helena, Montana to Washington D.C and back!  The1.5 million acre complex, or the “Bob” as it is affectionately referred to, is used by hikers, hunters, anglers, and backcountry horsemen.  The work that the Foundation does is critical for those who seek solitude in the wilderness and for the wild life that live there. Give Back to the Bob – Give Back to Yourself – Unplug – Recharge.

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