The Glacier Horse Barn has a long history of horse and mule stock use as well as maintaining the tack and gear necessary to run an efficient and effective packing operation for over 40 pack animals. Up until the early 1980s a leather sewing machine was employed to make many repairs and fabrications to and from leather and canvas gear. After the machine was retired, a replacement was never purchased.
A new, heavy-duty leather sewing machine would benefit the packing program through timely repairs and replacement of equipment to ensure many more years of use.
With over 93 percent of Glacier’s 1 million acres designated as wilderness, the tradition of using stock in the backcountry will certainly endure into the next century. Glacier’s pack animals are used to support and supply park trail crews, lookouts, chalet area staff and many other units in the park. The items that will be repaired with this machine will enable packers to safely direct the horses and mules, maintain balanced loads and carry tack.
The ability to repair the leather and canvas equipment will help to carry on the craftsmanship tradition within the park, while showing a significant cost savings as compared to replacing worn parts.
While federal support provides for day-to-day operations, this kind of project is only possible through partnership and community support.
To learn more about how you can help, visit glacierconservancy.org.