A Season for Many Thanks

September 21, 2015 Posted by: Ranger Dawson

Autumn is approaching and the reasons to be thankful are piling up. First off, I want to thank all of you who took the time and energy to read and write such substantive comments in response to the “Ranger Challenge of the Century” blog post. As I was hoping, your different perspectives provided us with many new ideas and some old ones that are worth revisiting.

Reading your responses and seeing the discussions sparked by this post gives me hope for the future. While I am sorry to hear that so many of you have seen things you’ve found upsetting happening in our park, I am thrilled to hear that you’ve gone out on a limb and spoken up on your own accord. As the old adage goes, “it takes a village” - these lands are our collective treasure, and it takes a whole nation’s worth of effort to take care of them.

For those of you who already speak up, thank you. For those of you that haven’t, I would like to encourage you to speak out (in a respectful manner) when you see other visitors engaging in activities that may be harmful to our wild places and creatures.  Thank you for your efforts.

I was happy to hear so many positive and constructive suggestions. And thankfully we are already doing some of things you all suggested! In several locations across the park, you can find life-sized cutouts of bears, bighorn sheep and mountain goats just waiting for you to pose with them. We take that concept a step further by providing visitors with access to pelts, horns, antlers, and other neat nature paraphernalia at visitor and nature centers, and during interpretive programs. Want to feel the texture of mountain goat’s winter fur? Or see how long a grizzly claw truly is? Talk to a naturalist and see what we can conjure up for you - we are all about empowering people to learn about animals in appropriate contexts.  

I also read many other great suggestions of things we’re not doing, including (but certainly not limited to) using more graphic messaging, and having signs and literature available in many languages. One reader even suggested an app that allows you to report offending parties in real time. What exactly will be chosen in the future, I cannot say - but it’s important to me that you know I did take the time to read every single comment.

In addition to reading them, I also summarized your responses and gave that information to our park’s management. Hopefully with these ideas in mind we can move forward and work together to provide improved safety messaging. The protection and preservation of our wild creatures and wild places depend on that.

Thanks, yet again, for your time.

Hey Ranger!

"Where are some of the best places to view wildlife at a distance?"

Glacier is fortunate to have a variety of places where wildlife can be enjoyed safely from a distance. Some visitor favorites are the meadows on the northern side of St. Mary Lake (near Two Dog Flats), across the lake and creeks in the Lake McDonald valley, and on the cliffsides of the Many Glacier valley. Bring binoculars and look for park staff with spotting scopes - often times seeing a wild animal from a distance is your best shot at observing its natural behaviors.

Happy trails,

Ranger Dawson


Last updated: September 21, 2015

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