Protecting Glacier

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Glacier National Park is the core of one of North America’s most intact ecosystems, and one of only 13 places on the planet where all the major flora and fauna that inhabited the region 500 years ago still persist today. This ecosystem extends well beyond the man-made boundary of the park itself. It includes designated wilderness to the south, protected tribal lands to the east, and a wide swath of currently unprotected U.S. Forest Service land to the west.

Currently, these western borderlands are the one area near the park open to mining, strip mining, gas exploration and other extractive, industrial uses. But this can change.

In January 2011, U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester introduced the North Fork Watershed Protection Act (S. 255). The bill will place more than 400,000 acres of Forest Service land, upstream of Glacier National Park, off limits to hard rock mining, oil and gas extraction, and geothermal leasing — in essence protecting an area larger than Sequoia National Park.

If signed into law, S. 255 would protect:

  • Critical wildlife and big game habitat.
  • The drinking water supply of area communities.
  • Public lands leased to Whitefish Mountain Resort ski area.
  • More than 100 miles of congressionally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers.
  • $100 million in tourism spending and 2,000 local jobs.

This bill enjoys overwhelming support locally, and has the backing of six major energy companies. The legislation, which is only 190 words in length, will cost taxpayers nothing, and further ensures that this priceless resource is never compromised.


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News / Events
  • North Fork Protection Act Passes U.S. House


  • North Fork Watershed Protection Act Passes U.S. House

  • Baucus Doubles Down on Passing North Fork Bill Before Term Ends