Final Master Plan
May 1977
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The following objectives presented by the superintendent of Glacier National Park reflect management's needs and park goals relative to this master plan.


Glacier National Park, the larger portion of Glacier-Waterton Lakes International Peace Park, will be managed in accordance with the management policies for a natural area:

To preserve an outstanding mountain area, characterized by spectacular northern Rocky Mountain topography, active glaciers, and unique plant and animal communities.

To enable all visitors to derive benefit and enjoyment from their visit.


General Management:

Glacier will be managed on a year-round-use basis.

Management of the park will be geared to maximum enjoyment of the resources by visitors from May 30 through October 15. From December 15 through March 15, winter use of the park will be encouraged where appropriate and in keeping with Service policies and objectives.

Management of the park will continue to be centralized at West Glacier park headquarters. This complex will support the east and west side districts.

Cooperative activities with Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada, will be promoted to revitalize and make the world's first international peace park more meaningful. This will be exemplified by exchange interpretive programs, joint brochure and other publications when feasible, interrelated exhibits and signs, and joint efforts to promote the universal values of parks to citizens of the world.

Park management and development, to the greatest degree possible, must be keyed to and coordinated with the plans and activities of adjacent land management agencies for recreation, camping, and other outdoor activities outside the park.

Acquisition of all the privately owned lands within the park is a definite goal. Acquisition of private lands will be geared to:

Opportunity buying.

Halting nonconforming uses.

Preservation of natural area objectives.

Within the policy framework noted above, private lands within the Lake McDonald portion of the park should be acquired as first priority and structures should be removed as soon after purchase as is practicable.

Resource Management:

Park ecosystems will be managed to protect, preserve, or restore, where necessary, natural biotic relationships for the scenic, educational, and scientific benefit of the visiting public.

Management of the wildlife and fishery resources will emphasize natural population control and minimize the human-use factor, which creates undue population stress or contributes to undue visitor risk.

Management of the soil and vegetation resource will be guided by application of a visitor-carrying-capacity concept to control ecosystem impact at an acceptable level.

Further alteration of scenic lakeshores or streambanks by physical development will not be undertaken.

Examination will be made of possible sources of air and water pollution, and recommendations made on management programs to reduce ecosystem impact to an acceptable level.

Historical Resources:

Revitalize Glacier National Park's historical resource program, which includes archives, historical structures, and sites.

Visitor Use:

Going-to-the-Sun Road over Logan Pass will be kept open for visitor use between mid-June and mid-October of each year. East-side roads will be open to visitors between mid-May and mid-October of each year.

To maintain and perpetuate a winter experience, most park roads will remain unplowed in winter. Use of over-the-snow vehicles may be allowed under permit, but would be restricted to selected unplowed roadways.

Sprague Creek Campground on the shores of Lake McDonald will continue to be designated for tent camping only.

A wilderness management plan will be prepared that will provide appropriate technical direction and will accomplish objectives of wilderness preservation and use within the framework of existing policy.

To fully experience the park's semi-wilderness areas, opportunities to take short hikes should be expanded. This does not necessarily mean new trails, but improved trails and trailheads around centers of visitor activity and along the interpretive corridor. New trail construction will be held to a minimum.

Trails identified as leading into prime grizzly bear habitat will be studied to determine the effect of visitor use on that habitat.

Logan Pass will continue to operate as a day-use area.

The Red Eagle Creek area near the St. Mary development offers good potential as an interpretive demonstration area. Low, rolling, forested moraines with interspersed meadows and beaver ponds offer possibilities of a motor nature trail, bicycle routes, short nature trails, and an expanded environmental interpretation and national environmental study area opportunities.

Operation of concessioner boat tours on Lake McDonald, St. Mary Lake, Two Medicine Lake, Swiftcurrent Lake, Josephine Lake, and Waterton Lake will be continued.

Concession saddle-horse operations will be based in the vicinity of Apgar, Lake McDonald Lodge, and Many Glacier.

Concessioner-provided overnight accommodations are considered adequate. Modernization and upgrading of existing facilities is a key objective.

Except for the campground, Two Medicine will continue to operate as a day-use area.


The interpretive program for Glacier National Park is to present to the park visitor through quality interpretation the human history of Glacier, as well as the story of the flora, fauna, and the glaciation exemplified in this park.

An environmental awareness philosophy will be integrated into all phases of park management and communicated to the public through the interpretive program. To accomplish this, means should be explored that will encourage the visitor to leave his car and experience the park resources at a closer range.

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Last Updated: 01-Jul-2010