GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Native peoples have lived here for millennia. Modern roads and hiking trails now trace the routes they used over the Rocky Mountains. Campgrounds and visitor facilities now stand where they camped while gathering plants and hunting animals. European colonization of western North America replaced traditional ways with successive waves of change. Trappers exploited the region's furs in the early 1800s. Gold and silver brought prospectors into the Rockies in the last half of the 19th century. Some found promising signs of oil in what is today the International Peace Park, but the brief oil boom died out quickly. Between 1857 and 1874, boundary surveys clearly defined the 49th parallel to head off future conflict between Canada and the U.S.A. Surveyors put their names on many peaks and mountain lakes. As ranchers and farmers laid claim to the surrounding lands, a growing number of visitors discovered the beauty of the high Rockies. The Great Northern Railway, built in 1892 through Marias Pass, opened the region's beauties to discovery by tourists.
A few frontier visionaries like Canadian rancher Fredrick Godsal and George Bird Grinnell saw the need to protect the area's wildlife from exploitation and its natural scenic beauty from piecemeal development. Their lobbying led to creation of national parks in Canada (1895) and the United States (1910). The great experiment embodied in the national park ideal continues to evolve. In early days, rangers and wardens killed predators. New roads and lodges were thought essential to make parks relevant in a West largely inaccessible at the time. Flooding and wildfire were deemed disasters, not natural events. Today, millions of people come as visitors to this landscape that wears few lasting signs of those 20th-century changes. As wilderness shrinks in most of the world, park managers now strive to protect wild habitats, control impacts of development, and restore natural processes. Like fire, to the landscape. Through all the many changes in how people have used the land, one thing has not changes: this remains one of the world's great places, worthy of special care and lasting respect.
(Quoted directly from Glacier National Map)
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Glacier National Park
West Glacier, Montana 59936
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