Page 62

Be prepared

by Jeff Mow

THE CRUX

A simple motto for an uncertain time at Glacier National Park landscape once the glaciers themselves species like whitebark pine and the As a teenager growing up in are gone, but what other changes will diminutive pika are observable and California, I was pretty heavily involved there be to the ecosystem, to our well documented. Some climate with backpacking, climbing and backfacilities, and to our ability to provide change research indicates that we will country skiing. School holidays were our visitors with a meaningful and be experiencing a “no-analog future,” spent in Yosemite, the eastern Sierra quality experience? meaning one with climate patterns and at Joshua Tree National Park. Before moving to Glacier I Through the Boy Scouts I learned spent 22 years in Alaska working how important it is to “be prein and managing national parks. pared.” While being prepared in “As I about the future During my time there I witnessed those days often meant hauling some pretty incredible short-term around a 50-pound backpack, takchanges. At Kenai Fjords National ing the lesson to heart ultimately of the it’s clear it Park we spent every summer gave me confidence in my ability extending the trail out to Exit to adapt to changing conditions in to be Glacier in an attempt to keep up the backcountry. with its retreat. In 2013, Alaska Forty years later, I find that saw record-breaking high being the superintendent of in a way that it to be temperatures for the month of Glacier National Park has given May followed by more recordme a new appreciation for what it to breaking heat in June. I have means to be prepared. Certainly come to describe this kind of my responsibilities managing one crazy weather pattern as if of the country’s iconic national —potentially change.” someone has cranked the dial parks, overseeing up to 450 on the weather so that when it’s employees during the summer cold it’s really cold, when it’s season and more than 2 million warm it is really warm, and when it and ecosystem shifts that have not visitors a year, are more complex. But rains it comes down in buckets. occurred in recorded history. There is no Glacier National Park is a landscape that doubt that Glacier National Park will is changing—its shrinking glaciers and continue to be a wondrous and amazing reduced habitat for sensitive alpine Continued on page 60

think

park needs managed allows responsive change massive

Cathrine L. Walters

Montana Headwall  

Outdoor Adventure Under the Big Sky

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