I love Glacier National Park. It’s the reason I moved here and the reason I stay. But I am beginning to abhor camping there. While we enjoy backcountry camping, we also enjoy spending time on Glacier’s beautiful lakes with our sea kayaks, in the front country campgrounds. But these campgrounds are a far cry from anything resembling camping, with huge behemoths parked in the choicest spots, blocking views for tent campers.
Generators roaring six hours during the prime daytime hours (8-10 a.m., 12-2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.), they make a mockery of the camping experience as people sit in their air-conditioned palaces on wheels, satellite dishes pointing skyward, watching TV instead of enjoying the view they are monopolizing.
If you are lucky enough to get one of the prime creek or lakefront spots next to them, there is no way you can enjoy the quiet sounds of the rippling stream over the inescapable sound and smell of the generator next door.
Since our parks belong to everyone, and all have a right to enjoy them, this is what I propose:
1) For those who require electricity, create a special campground outside the main camping area, KOA-style, with full hookups; or
2) Set aside a designated section of the campground for those who need to run their generators six hours a day – and not in the prime spots, spoiling views and relaxation for tenters. (Really, how much stuff do you need to bring camping that requires six hours a day worth of electricity?); or
3) Create spaces at the park camp stores or visitor centers where folks who wanted to recharge could drive to and recharge, concentrating the noise in one location.
Campgrounds were created to provide a quiet, restful, restorative experience, an opportunity to enjoy nature and wildlife. This is not our present-day camping experience in Glacier.
If you feel strongly about preserving the use of Glacier’s campgrounds as originally intended, please write to Superintendent Chas Cartwright, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT 59935, call 406-888-7800, or e-mail www.nps.gov/glac (contact us).
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