Former First Lady to Host Glacier Fundraiser

By Beacon Staff

Former First Lady Laura Bush will arrive in the Flathead Valley on July 15 to headline a private fundraiser for the Glacier National Park Fund, according to executive director Jane Ratzlaff.

“Laura is a very big advocate of our national parks and getting people out to enjoy them,” Ratzlaff said.

Ratzlaff said that Bush wanted to support the park and its efforts to deal with damage sustained over the winter to both buildings and trails. The Granite and Sperry chalets and Swiftcurrent Lookout suffered significant damage this past winter, as well as many trails throughout the park. Ratzlaff said that it was still too early to know how much it would cost to repair the damage, but estimated that it could be as high as $100,000.

Bush will be speaking at an invitation-only event at the Lake McDonald Lodge on Friday at 3 p.m., according to Ratzlaff. Those attending the event are previous donors or supporters and will be paying $250 for the chance to meet the former First Lady, have a photo taken with her and dinner. Ratzlaff said they expect to raise at least $20,000 from ticket sales.

Ratzlaff said Bush is expected to talk about the importance of America’s national parks and keeping those sites maintained for future generations.

Following the fundraiser on Friday afternoon, Bush is expected to begin a long weekend visiting the park with a few close friends. Officials from the National Park Service confirmed that she would be in the park but wouldn’t comment on security measures that would be taken during the visit.

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