From stars to wolves to trail work and education, the Glacier National Park Conservancy will fund more than $2 million in projects this summer.
The Conservancy, which is the official nonprofit fundraising arm of the Park, saw a $1 million increase in giving in over the previous year and as such, will be able to fund even more programs and research in Glacier.
The Conservancy has granted the Park funding to complete 46 projects throughout the park in the coming year for a total cost of $2,199,672.
“The impact of these donations can be felt in every corner of the park including significant trail upgrades at Running Eagle Falls and Preston Park, installing renewable energy technology at Logan Pass and the North Fork, as a result of donations to the Great Fish Challenge, and research on the park’s harlequin ducks and native bull trout,” said Nikki Eisinger, Director of Development for the Glacier Conservancy. “Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we will be able to provide critical support for projects and programs that will sustain the park for generations to come.”
Conservancy donors are also funding work in 2017 that will assist the park in responding to the discovery of invasive mussels less than 50 miles from the park last fall, as well a variety of projects studying the impacts to alpine ecosystems from a changing climate — including learning more about the park’s Black Swift population and mapping climate change caused landscape disturbances, like fire.
“Maintaining the integrity of the park’s natural and cultural resources with reduced staffing and budgets while experiencing significant increases in visitation is a real challenge,” Jeff Mow, superintendent of Glacier, said. “The necessity of philanthropy is a critical element to preserving and protecting the park.”
The additional funding this year will also help fund Glacier’s effort to make its lighting dark sky friendly. Glacier-Waterton was recently named the first International Dark Skies Peace Park in the world, but over the course of the next few years, it has to retrofit thousands of light fixtures to make them compliant with dark sky standards.
The Conservancy also provides funds that help bring over 8,000 K-12 students to the park this year. These field trips are led by college-age interns who are interested in environmental education careers, providing them with on-the-job training for their degree requirements.
The Conservancy will also fund a wolf survey of the Park, upgrades to the Preston Park trail, work on two North Fork patrol cabins, and staffing so that folks can access the Park’s vast historical archives.