Environmental Factors

With the headwaters of three continental drainages located in Glacier Park, flora and fauna have diverse affinities with many species occurring near the geographic limits of their range. Even slight differences in elevation and directional exposure can radically alter the occurrence of specific habitats and, hence, the distribution of plants and animals.

Monitoring changes to the environment, such as impacts due to global climate change and the spread of exotic species, is matched with serious restoration efforts. We want to pass this place to future generations the way it is today, or better.

 
wispy clouds and blue skies over a mountain

Air Quality

Glacier is protected under the Clean Air Act as a Class I airshed

barren rock in glacier basin under dark clouds

Climate Change

Glacier's alpine glaciers make it one of the top research sites for climate science and a place to see climate change in action.

Pile of debris from rockslide pours over road retaining wall

Geologic Activity

These mountains are a place of constant activity.

meltwater pours over rocks

Hydrologic Activity

Glaciers and snowpack feed hydrologic activity throughout the summer.

Vivid milky way over silhouetted trees

Lightscape / Night Sky

Glacier protects an important resource that is diminishing in a increasingly urban nation.

Gloved people picking invasive weeds by river

Nonnative Species

Invasive plants and aquatic species threaten native species existence, spurring park restoration efforts.

stellars jay sits on limb with beak open

Soundscape / Noise

The song of a bird and roar of a waterfall are all part of Glacier's natural soundscape.

split-level water view of forested lakeshore and underwater rocks

Water Quality

As the nation's headwaters, Glacier waters are worthy of protection.

clouds creep over silhouetted mountain peaks

Weather

The Continental Divide makes for unpredictable weather in Glacier's mountains.

 

Areas of Concern
Presently, 140 plant and animal species found in Glacier Park are listed by the state of Montana as "Species of Special Concern", four are federally listed as "threatened" (bald eagle, grizzly bear, lynx and bull trout), one is designated "endangered" (gray wolf) and one (slender moonwort) is a candidate for federal listing. The preservation and maintenance of Glacier's resources is a daunting task for park managers given the growing list of threats, including some that are global in scale such as a warming climate. The introduction of invasive, nonnative (exotic) plant and fish species are major issues too.

Glacier has joined over 120 other parks in the Climate Friendly Parks initiative. Member parks make it a top priority to respond to climate change and move park operations in a more sustainable direction.

 
Wilderness
"Wilderness" is a word with many emotional or historical meanings, but one meaning carries federal distinction. Official Wilderness designation and addition to the National Wilderness Preservation System requires an act of Congress. Glacier National Park lands are not designated, but are managed as wilderness per NPS policy. Over 90% of the park has been proposed for inclusion.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936

Phone:

(406) 888-7800
Phones are generally staffed Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm.

Contact Us