It seems very clear now that Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow is making a conscious effort to reduce visitor access to Logan Pass from five to six months in years past, down to three to four months during his unusually prolonged term. For the park’s first 60 years, the historical precedence of managing Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass during the fall was based simply on one common sense criteria — the weather. Who came up with this arbitrary third Monday in October as a closing date anyway? Certainly, a storm system passing through in the fall might cause a temporary road closure, but it was often followed with a glorious stretch of Indian summer conditions much like we have recently experienced. In the past, every reasonable effort was made to re-open the road to Logan Pass as late as practical, instead of a rush to close it during Jeff Mow’s tenure. The historical data on road closures to Logan Pass saw mild conditions stretch into November before it was closed. These amazing places were clearly meant to be protected, but also enjoyed in perpetuity for the people. Somehow, the basic concept of “for the people” seems to be falling on deaf ears to Jeff Mow. On the contrary, some of our former presidents had a very good understanding of this, as follows:
“There is nothing so American as our national parks … The fundamental idea behind the parks … is that the country belongs to the people.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The idea of preserving in a national grouping such spots of scenic beauty and historic memory originated in this country … set aside as national treasures for the enjoyment of present and future generations.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Our national parks belong to each of us … to enjoy the magnificent beauty of our great land.” – George W. Bush
Please write our new Secretary of the Interior, who I understand is quite receptive, and to your state representatives to demand a return to the common sense practice of maintaining Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass. In lieu of the entry ticket system implemented this year, the shoulder seasons are particularly crucial to many in the local communities who feel they have been shut out by the park. It’s time for Jeff Mow to move on and to replace him with someone who will manage the park with this clearly in mind.
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