(below is a press release given to ABC FOX Montana)
After a record-setting visitation year in Glacier National Park, the Glacier National Park Conservancy has donated more than $1.3 million to the park to help preserve and protect it for future generations.
“Private donations to the Glacier Conservancy support critical projects aimed at preserving the park’s history, exploring its present, and securing its future,” said Nikki Eisinger, the Conservancy’s Director of Development. “Whether raising funds for the preservation of park facilities or funding the education and outreach programs in the park, the Glacier Conservancy is wholly dedicated to preserving the landscape, its unique history and experience of the park.”
The $1.3 million contribution is only the first phase in funding for the 2017 park season and represents a more than 100% increase over last year. The donation will fund 44 projects and programs throughout the park.
The significant increase in funding was requested by the park which faces a backlog of maintenance and higher demand for services due to increasing visitation and is made possible by generous donors both throughout the local community and nationally. From Backpacker’s Ball and Give Back to Glacier Week to Smith’s Round Up for Glacier and the Add-On For Glacier program adopted by many local businesses, support from the Glacier community has been key to this year’s success.
“The park has so many important projects that would not be possible without the Glacier Conservancy and the generous support from our community,” said park superintendent Jeff Mow. “Our partnership is essential to fund engaging programs that serve our visitors and projects that sustain Glacier’s natural and cultural resources, particularly as we strive to meet and exceed the expectations of our record number of visitors.”
Projects receiving funds for the coming year cover all corners of the park, including another year of the successful ‘Bark Ranger’ visitor education and wildlife management program at Logan Pass, a new Veteran Volunteer Corps that will bring together veterans with valuable military trades to train for jobs within the National Park Service, and the continuation of the astronomy education program that is attended by more than 30,000 visitors each year.
“As thrilled as we are about this significant donation, our work is not yet done,” said Eisinger. “To meet the park’s basic program needs, we need to bring that total donated to $2 million by the end of the year.”
Projects still seeking funds include trail repairs for Preston Park, lighting improvements that will help the park qualify as an International Dark Sky Preserve and a huckleberry research project that will help inform grizzly bear conservation.
The Glacier Conservancy is the park’s official philanthropic partner dedicated to preserving and protecting the park for future generations. In the four years since the organization was founded, it has funded more than $3.1 million in grants for Glacier National Park. To learn more and donate, visit glacier.org.