Dori L. Gorczyca '15, Gettysburg College
Glacier National Park (GNP), located in northwest Montana, US, was signed into existence on 11 May 1910 by then President William Howard Taft. Conservationist George Bird Grinnell was instrumental in lobbying for the park’s creation and negotiated the sale with the Blackfeet Indians. As an editor of the outdoor magazine Field and Stream, Grinnell learned about the region from writer James Willard Schultz and made his first visit there in 1885. Enticed and amazed by the glaciers of the area, the high Rocky Mountain alpine terrain, and the flora and fauna that thrived here, Grinnell advocated for the creation of the park, nicknaming it the “Crown of the Continent.”
Grinnell recognized glaciers as a geological wonder. As historian Gerald Diettert records in his 1992 book, Grinnell called the glaciers the “jewels” in the crown. Setting aside land to enjoy the glaciers seemed like a logical means to conserve the landscapes and ecosystems that they supported. Yet today, just about a hundred years from when the park was founded, the glaciers that form GNP’s snow-capped crown are close to extinction. [excerpt]
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Gorczyca, Dori, Salma Monani, and Sarah Principato. “The Melting ‘Crown of the Continent’: Visual History of Glacier National Park.” Environment & Society Portal, Arcadia no. 20 (2018). http://www.environmentandsociety.org/node/8315.
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The original article can be found on the publisher's website: http://www.environmentandsociety.org/node/8315.