Melting glaciers in Glacier Park: The view from 1963

Print Article

The recent news release concerning the melting glaciers in Glacier National Park seems somewhat deceptive. I am a National Park Service retiree. I started my career in Glacier National Park in 1963 and attended my first park staff meeting in September of 1963.

At that meeting the United States Geological Survey staff presented the results of their annual glacier monitoring program and reported that the park glaciers were continuing to shrink. They assured the park staff that the glaciers would eventually disappear, but would not make any time predictions.

The park superintendent thanked the USGS for their effort and took the opportunity to remind the staff that the park was named Glacier because of the park topography that was formed by the action of continental glaciers thousands of years ago, not because glaciers existed in the park. It was understood and accepted by the National Park Service and the United States Geological Survey that the park glaciers were a remnant of the last ice age and would eventually melt.

It is disconcerting to hear government professionals now blame the ice melting on anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming.

The USGS wondered 50 years ago why glaciers remained in the park when the mountains north and south of the park at the same elevations did not have glaciers. The USGS of 50 years ago also would not have claimed that the disappearance of glaciers would result in uncontrolled wildfire threats. A review of the hydrology involved is needed.

The park master plan that was in place at the time specified a visitor center at the foot of Lake McDonald and the park staff was recommending an audio-visual presentation in a theater facing the head of the lake. The presentation would illustrate on screen a glacial landscape followed by movement and melting of the ice and finally curtains would open to show the existing landscape.

One of the objectives was to show the park visitor what a glacier was and could do, because it was understood that they would soon be gone.

Keith Fellbaum, of Little Falls, Minn., is a former Glacier Park engineer and was later chief of maintenance.

 

Print Article

Read More Local News

One grizzly killed by train; two others die of natural causes

November 16, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Daily Inter Lake A male grizzly bear cub died last week after a collision with a BNSF Railway train on the tracks near Columbia Falls. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported Friday that the r...

Comments

Read More

Emergency drill simulates measles outbreak

November 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake What would happen if there was a widespread measles outbreak in Northwest Montana? More than 40 staff members representing multiple health venues across Flathead County tackled that issue Wednesday ...

Comments

Read More

Savanna’s Act advances to Senate vote

November 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake On Wednesday, the Indian Affairs Committee voted to advance federal legislation aimed at addressing the epidemic of missing and murdered Native American women and children. Savanna’s Act (Senate Bil...

Comments

Read More

Elks Lodge seeks buyer for building

November 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Kalispell Elks Lodge 725 once boasted membership of about 1,200 people, according to David Barnes, the lodge’s current Exalted Ruler. Those were the days when regional entertainment and dining opti...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2018 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X