Thursday, December 11, 2014

Trails Forever Funding Needs in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park has recently submitted an ambitious $1.7 million funding request to the Glacier National Park Conservancy for 2015. This includes more than 50 project proposals in areas such research, education, and preservation. The Conservancy has already awarded an initial grant of $450,000 to the park for the upcoming season.

In response to this additional funding request, the Glacier National Park Conservancy has launched a seven week Glacier Champions campaign to raise additional funds for 2015 projects that have not yet been funded.

Projects that still need funding include significant trail improvements to Avalanche Lakeshore, Trail of the Cedars, and the Iceberg Lake Trail, as well as the trail system around St. Mary Lake on the east side. Each trail receives high visitation, and rehabilitation is necessary to make hiking experiences exceptional, and to restore areas that become damaged by increased foot traffic. The following is a quick run-down on the hiking related improvement projects for 2015:

Rehabilitating The First Mile Of The Highline Trail - Work would include replacing hundreds of feet of worn cable and anchors that make up the safety line, to reworking switchbacks and widening narrow and difficult to hike areas near Rimrock. This project is currently fully funded for an estimated cost of $20,000.

Rerouting Iceberg Lake Trail - Approximately 1/8th of a mile up the trail is a steep section that is eroding into a gully. This project would build two switchbacks to decrease the trail grade and rehabilitate some trail segments by installing log checks. The new trail would be less steep, easier to maintain on a yearly basis, and elevate the hiking experience for thousands of visitors each summer. Funding needed = $12,000

Improve St. Mary Lake Trail Access - Portions of the trail to the St. Mary boat dock flood in the early summer, creating access challenges to St. Mary, Virginia, and Baring Falls. This project would repair 50 feet of trail down to St. Mary Lake, reconstructing a rock wall and elevating the trail above the high water line. The result would be a well-maintained trail to a popular location, accessible even during the high water periods in the spring. Funding needed = $6,000

Reconstruct Trail Of The Cedars - This project would reconstruct the trail surface (along the paved segment of the trail), laying down a “green” resin pavement, and would showcase sustainability and accessibility in our national parks. Funding needed = $30,000

Improve Avalanche Lake Shoreline Access - Access to the lake is currently not well defined in places, leading visitors to group in certain spots, or create their own trails to move further along the lake. This project would support walkways and other gravel surfaces along some portions of the trail, would define trail access along the lake, would replace the broken wooden walkway and handrails leading down to the lakeshore, and would rebuild benches from the head to the foot of the lake to allow hikers to spread out and find less congested spots to enjoy their visit. Funding needed = $24,000

Build A Raised Walkway To Two Medicine Pray Shelter And Boat Dock - In the early summer, the entire area at the head of Two Medicine Lake floods. This project would construct a 200 foot raised walkway to the Two Medicine Pray Shelter and Boat Dock. The raised walkway would allow visitors to travel to the boat dock and pray shelter, over the flooded area, and back to dry trail. It would also facilitate hikes to other locations up valley including Twin Falls and Dawson Pass. Funding needed = $15,000

Trail Use Study For All Trails Outside Of The Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor - The project would purchase trail counter and camera equipment to be placed in some or all of the following areas: North Fork, Many Glacier, Goat Haunt, Middle Fork, Two Medicine and Belly River. The study would analyze trail use over a two-year period, calibrating and refining data based on trail counter results. A basic equipment purchase, even without additional support to analyze the data would allow the park to immediately begin collecting some preliminary data, even if the whole project wasn’t entirely funded in 2015.

Trail use data allows the park to chart a sustainable path forward and make informed decisions about how best to direct visitors to the best places to visit, while preserving Glacier’s wild places. Funding needed = $14,000 - $64,000

For a full list of projects, and to donate, please click here.


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