Crown of the Continent

By Beacon Staff

Glacier National Park has been called the “Crown of the Continent,” and when you see pictures or drive or hike through it you will see why. Just imagine living next to this marvelous park or, for that matter, growing up with it as your backyard playground. Well, it has been my playground for almost 30 years.

I grew up in a little log cabin on the west side of Glacier Park, 50 miles from power and a phone, up a narrow gravel road. It is called the North Fork Valley or, on the map, is Polebridge, Montana. This is where your picture window is your TV. The wilderness and outdoor recreational activities are so numerous it takes a lifetime to see half of what is there.

I spent my days as a youth into adulthood rafting the river, climbing the rocky peaks or fishing in the high mountain lakes for trout. I still love the wilderness and all it has to offer. Enjoying the vistas from quiet ridge tops to the sound of the rushing river water while fishing. Here, the wilderness ministers to you and helps you see life differently. You won’t experience the rush or noise of normal everyday life. You will find glacier blue rivers and lakes surrounded by snowcapped peaks.

I have sold property to people from all over the United States, and the world for that matter, who want to be close to Glacier National Park. Some want the conveniences of paved roads, power and phone, while others want seclusion where they can blend into the natural environment. Finding that treasure close to Glacier is what I have done for more than 17 years. When I am not helping others buy real estate I am out enjoying Glacier as much as I possibly can. For three months during the summer you will most likely find my family and me somewhere on McDonald Lake. There is no question it is a family favorite.

Real estate around Glacier National Park increased with the market in general years ago. Prices in the North Fork Valley actually peaked a year later than the rest of the Flathead Valley. Since 2008, the values have dropped but appear to be leveling. Over the last year there has been increased interest in property around Glacier and the sales are now proving established values. One contributing factor is a limited availability of property close to Glacier National Park.

As far as the North Fork Valley, the term “limited availability” is an understatement. In the 50-mile long valley with the best Glacier views in Montana, less than 2 percent of the land is privately owned. Add to that, zoning only allows land to be divided in 20-plus acre tracts and you will not see many new parcels. This limit to development is why people choose to get away and enjoy the wilderness, knowing it will most likely be the same way many years from now.

If you are looking to live next to Glacier National Park or come to enjoy what it has to offer, I think you will find investing in real estate more than just a financial decision but an investment in your life. I have experienced this for 30 years and will never be able to replace the memories and wilderness experiences for my family or me. Why don’t you experience it for yourself?

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