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Commemorating Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

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Date: September 7, 2010
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
Contact: Wade Muehlhof, 406 888-7895

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Approximately 150 Rotarians and park representatives from Montana and Western Canada will soon gather to commemorate the 1932 establishment of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the first such trans-boundary park in the world and the model for numerous similar efforts all around the world. The annual event known as Hands Across the Border will be held September 10 - 12, 2010, at Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park.

For the past 78 years Rotary Clubs in Alberta and Montana have taken turns hosting the celebration in Waterton and Glacier, respectively. This year, the Rotary Club of Helena, in league with the Rotary Sunrise Club and other Rotary groups in Townsend and Whitehall, Montana, is the official host. This event coincides with the last phases of a long season of commemorating Glacier National Park's 100th anniversary and will include official meetings of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Association.

Glacier Superintendent Chas Cartwright says, "While not open to the public at large, these annual festivities provide a significant symbol of enduring friendship between citizens of the United States and Canada and a manifestation of the fruitful longstanding fellowship of Rotary Clubs in Montana and Alberta. The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park serves as a venerable, successful model of cooperation across international boundaries worthy of emulation around the world."

The Mayors of Helena and Cardston, Alberta, will open the weekend-long series of walks, talks, meals and music on Friday, September 10. Cartwright and Waterton Lakes National Park Superintendant Dave McDonough will deliver remarks, as will Rotary District Governors from both sides of the border. Cowboy poet Mike Logan and Grammy-nominated Blackfeet singer-songwriter Jack Gladstone will provide entertainment. A trio of scholar-practitioners will make presentations on current challenges to the transboundary ecosystem, the peace park in the context of U.S.-Canada relations and how Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park has spawned similar international parks in other parts of the world.

Penny Legate, a well-known television personality and humanitarian from the Seattle area will address the assembly on Sunday morning. These proceedings culminate in an 11 a.m. ceremony at Chief Mountain border crossing with the ritual hand-shake across the 49th parallel between representatives from both Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park. Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Customs and Immigration, U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security officials along with officers from the Montana Highway Patrol will provide color guards for the ceremony. Chiefs from the Blackfoot and Blood Reserves in Alberta and the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana have also been invited to participate. 

- NPS -

Did You Know?

Jackson Glacier

If current trends continue, some scientists predict that by the year 2030, Glacier National Park will not contain any glaciers and many of the park's smaller glaciers will melt even sooner.