EDITORIAL: Glacier Park partner needs support

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As visitation to Glacier National Park swells year over year, itís more important than ever to have a local advocacy group working on behalf of the parkís most critical needs.

The Glacier National Park Conservancy based in Columbia Falls fits that bill. The nonprofit recently rolled out its 2017 Field Guide. Identified in the packet are 43 projects focused on ensuring the park remains pristine and offers a safe and enjoyable experience for the 2.3 million visitors who venture through the entrance gates each year.

High on the Conservancyís list of priorities are efforts to address deferred maintenance and improve access at some of Glacierís most popular trailheads and backcountry hikes. Continuing efforts to expand accessibility at the Trail of the Cedars and the Swiftcurrent Trail, replacement of the viewing platform at Running Eagle Falls, and extensive trail work in Preston Park are all highlighted projects the Conservancy hopes to finish next year.

Other priorities touching on visitor experience include efforts to reduce sound pollution, maintaining the parkís status as a Dark Sky Preserve and improving bear safety information in campgrounds.

All totaled, the nonprofit is seeking $1.7 million in philanthropic funding to back the list of priority projects.

Federal funding for national parks is limited and mostly goes to day-to-day operations. The Conservancy picks up where those dollars canít be stretched. Last year the group completed 34 projects after raising $1.1 million.

With the increase in annual visitation at Glacier showing no signs of slowing, helping the Glacier National Park Conservancy to fund access and maintenance projects is certainly worth your consideration.

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