Columbia Falls Native Recognized as Wilderness Champion

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Date: February 13, 2012
Contact: Denise Germann, 406 888-5838

WEST GLACIER, MONT. -Glacier National Park Wilderness Specialist Kyle Johnson was recently awarded the National Park Service Intermountain Region Wilderness Champion Award. Johnson was recognized as an outstanding wilderness steward and leader for his role in promoting wilderness accountability, consistency and continuity at Glacier National Park and throughout the agency.

Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright said, "Kyle is a stalwart protector of Glacier's wilderness values, and embodies the wilderness spirit. He is respected for his knowledge, expertise and leadership as a wilderness specialist, and we are very fortunate to have him at Glacier."

Johnson is a teacher and mentor to those seeking to increase their knowledge and skills in the wild. He developed and instructs the park's interagency wilderness training for back-country rangers and volunteers. He has worked with the University of Montana to create a unique and successful wilderness ranger internship position at the park. His expertise with traditional tools in wilderness is shared with others as he teaches at interagency workshops and college courses.

Johnson oversees the back-country permit program at the park and is a leader in teaching Leave-No-Trace principles and practices. The park's back-country volunteer program is successful with Johnson's leadership. His work with the volunteer program directly impacts the quality of the wilderness visitor experience and has contributed to thousands of educational contacts. He also is very involved in the joint river management of the Flathead River with the Flathead National Forest.

Johnson's expertise is also utilized on a regional and national level within the National Park Service. He has created monitoring tools and visitor information programs that have been used across the agency, as well as contributions to agency policy on wilderness management.

In response to the recognition, Johnson said, "I'm honored to work at Glacier National Park and be recognized for my role in protection of this special place. The job we have as stewards is bigger than one individual and I'm fortunate to work with a great team at the park." Johnson, a 31-year veteran of Glacier National Park, is a native of Columbia Falls. He resides in Columbia Falls with his wife Mary and two children, Parker and Ellie.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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