Keeping Glacier Park intact

  Four years of work, months of public review and a $1.5 million investment have paid off for Glacier National Park planners. Last summer, the Park Service signed the General Management Plan that will guide Glacier's resource management for the next few decades. Project leader Mary Riddle says the plan reflects people's desire to keep the park the way it is. "They value Glacier for the experiences it has to offer and the resources that are here now," she says. Using the plan's framework, park staff will restore Glacier's aging buildings and construct a new multimillion-dollar "West Side Discovery Center and Museum." The draft plan had proposed closing the popular but deteriorating Going-to-the-Sun Road for four to six years of repairs. Criticism from local businesses, the public and Rep. Rick Hill, R-Mont., forced park officials to ax the proposal. Instead, using congressional money secured by Rep. Hill, the park and a citizens' advisory board will create a separate plan for repairing the road. The management plan also permanently bans personal watercraft on park waters and calls for the closure of park skies to commercial air tours.

For a copy of the General Management Plan, write to Superintendent, GMP/EIS Project Glacier National Park, West Glacier, MT 59936 (406/888-7898), or check out the Web version at

" Ali Macalady