Glacier visitation drives fundraising boost

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Nikki Eisinger, director of development for the Glacier National Park Conservancy, presents a check to Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow and the park's leadership team.

Glacier National Park’s chief fundraising partner has raised more than $1.3 million during its first phase of annual fundraising, a nearly three-fold increase compared with donations during the same span last year.

Amy Dempster, the Glacier National Park Conservancy’s marketing director, attributed the spike in support to this year’s record-breaking visitation in Glacier.

“Last year at the same time, we received about a half million dollars in funding, so it’s a significant increase,” Dempster said. “We think the (National Park Service) centennial and increased visitation played into that, and Give-Back-to-Glacier Week being in conjunction with the centennial.”

With an end-of-year goal of $2 million in donations to cover all of its priorities for 2017, Dempster is optimistic the conservancy will reach the mark once fundraising efforts kick into high gear after Thanksgiving.

The current fundraising total is enough to fully fund 44 of the priority projects laid out earlier this year, she added, including trail improvements around east-side lakes and waterfalls and renovations to the Many Glacier Hotel. The conservancy will contribute about $350,000 to help reconstruct the hotel’s historic spiral staircase and renovate the lobby and lighting fixtures.

Trail projects will increase accessibility at Swiftcurrent Lake, St. Josephine Lake and four waterfalls in the Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys.

“It’s really another opportunity for people to be able to see a different view and get further into the park, if you’re pushing a stroller or in a wheelchair,” Dempster said of the $98,000 trail project on the north end of St. Josephine Lake.

For more information on the consvancy and projects it supports, visit glacier.org.

Reporter Sam Wilson can be reached at 758-4407 or by email at swilson@dailyinterlake.com.

 

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