Hopefully you have a LOT of birthday candles, Glacier National Park is 113 years old today.

Glacier National Park is special. No matter how much time you have spent there, it is a place that always takes your breath away, and has for thousands of years.

According to archeological evidence, Native Americans first arrived in the Glacier area some 10,000 years ago. The earliest tribes had lineage with the Salish and Kootenai, Shoshone, and Cheyenne. The Blackfeet lived on the east slopes, and into great plains to the east of where the park boundary is today.

McDonald- photo via NPS.gov

In 1885 a gentleman by the name of George Bird Grinnell arranged for a hunting trip into the St. Mary Lakes region. George was an anthropologist, historian, writer, and more importantly (for Glacier) a naturalist. He was a vocal conservationist, who worked to preserve the American Bison, and a student of Native American life.

George Grinnell never really recovered from that first visit. After several more trips, some to hunt, more to explore and discover, he spent the next two decades working to establish a national park. In 1910, under the watchful eye of George Grinnell and Louis W. Hill (president of the Great Northern railroad), a bill was introduced into Congress to designate the region as a national park.

Glens lake- photo via NPS.gov

Grinnell wrote “This Park, the country owes to the Boone and Crockett Club, whose members discovered the region, suggested it being set aside, caused the bill to be introduced into congress and awakened interest in it all over the country”

The Great Northern built several hotels and chalets throughout the park in the 1910s to promote tourism to the park. Some of those that were built during that time include St. Mary, Sperry, Going to the Sun, Many Glacier, and others.

With the introduction of automobiles, the park’s popularity exploded. The automobile also spurred the creation of the Going to the Sun Road in 1932. The 53 mile road that bisects the park, and crosses the divide at Logan Pass (6,646 ft.)

Sun Road- photo via NPS.gov

Glacier National Park covers 1,013,322 acres, it includes over 130 named lakes, hundreds of species of animals, and more than a thousand plant species. Of the estimated 150 glaciers that existed in the mid-19th century, there are now 25 remaining. Scientists worry that by 2030 they could all disappear because of changing climate patterns.

If you want to experience Glacier National Park you MUST log onto the national park service website and register. You can read about all the steps necessary to enjoy a trip to the park HERE. and you can also secure a reservation at Recreation.gov.

Hike peak- photo via NPS.gov

I hope I look this good when I turn 113.

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