Final Master Plan
May 1977
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Standing in mute testimony to a complex geologic history, Glacier National Park is a spectacular combination of precipitous peaks, glacier-carved valleys, and mountain glaciers. This stark, ever-changing physiography, complemented by a diverse biotic community, represents a major scientific resource, as well as an esthetic recreational attraction of national significance. Nestled among the mountain peaks are myriad lakes and the remnants of many glaciers. Alpine meadows with their colorful wildflowers provide a delightful contrast to the vast forest girdling the peaks and the knife-edged ridges. The remarkable aggregation of birds and mammals suggests a resource abundance of another era.

The great national parks of the West encompass outstanding examples of mountain formations, usually within the context of a more extensive mountain range. Glacier is typical of these parks in this regard. It is, however, atypical in three important aspects. Its many lakes afford an exceptional opportunity for waterborne transportation. This can be both a means of access and a significant part of the park experience. Secondly, as an international peace park straddling the United States/Canada boundary, it not only serves as an attraction for many Canadian citizens but offers an excellent opportunity for international cooperation in the management and interpretation of our environment. Thirdly, on September 17, 1974, Christian A. Herter, Jr., Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for environmental affairs, designated Glacier National Park to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a unit of the world biosphere reserve. This international recognition gave the park world stature and significance as a reserve for the preservation of terrestrial environment, international research, and coordination.

This master plan seeks to provide the direction that will underlie future management programs for Glacier National Park. Furthermore, the plan will suggest how these programs can best serve the preservation and use of the resources and how they can benefit the park, the surrounding region, and the two nations that have pooled their natural resources.

A prime consideration will be to maintain the serene wild-land character of the park, while still providing an outstanding experience for both general vacationers and wilderness enthusiasts.

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Last Updated: —2009