LETTER: Centennial’s Missed Opportunity

By Beacon Staff

Since 1964, I’ve owned and operated an RV park and campground just several miles from the western entrance to Glacier National Park. Over the years, I have heard from people who have spouses working in Glacier and some who came here to retire. They did not realize at the time that nothing stays as it was 30 years ago. Time does not stand still. Not every one comes to Glacier to hike. Many people like the scenery, many hike, and a goodly number like to know the history of Glacier and its nearby locales.

With all the private and park advertising about 2010 being a centennial year, we enticed more people to visit Glacier. After they arrived, many visitors said they were disappointed because there was nothing in the daytime for them to see regarding the park’s history. Surely, there were special parties and events (many of these far from West Glacier), but there was next to nothing for tax-paying tourists who wanted information about park history and who would appreciate a daytime program. Not everyone wants to stay up late at night to see the evening programs. With all the people working in the park, I would think that someone could prepare and present a program (whether video or powerpoint).

Why did Glacier Park Inc. buy a hotel complex in Whitefish? People want more than what Glacier National Park has to offer. Given the number of visitors to Glacier, merely to offer “go take a hike” or “drive Going-to-the-Sun Road” are no longer enough. In 2010, many people were disappointed to learn that if they wanted to see a park-history program they had to travel to Helena, Missoula, or Kalispell. Ironically, the park’s birthday celebration was held in May when so few visitors were here to visit Glacier.

Park staff could have prepare several history-related programs and have them presented several times per week – in the daytime – during June, July and August. It would have bee nice when the Going-to-the-Sun Road was closed in the early part of the season. Give the tourist something to remember.

Catherine M. Richter
West Glacier

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