Is it time for the National Park Service to hold a contest to rename Montana’s Glacier National Park?
As a strong reminder that global warming marches on even when legislative action stalls, a new report finds that the park has lost a third of its 37 glaciers since 1966. The report also indicates that if loss of the glaciers continues at its current rate, the park will lack any of its namesake glaciers by 2030.
Even with heavier snowfall in the winter adding to the glaciers’ mass, it is being negated by faster melting in the summer. The end result is that we are losing something special.
Like so much of what is affected by climate change, this is all happening in the blink of an eye in geologic time, but too slowly to alarm folks going about their daily lives. The report details the loss of many of the glaciers over a course of more than 40 years.
Montana depends on the iconic nature of the park for billions of dollars worth of economic activity annually as visitors from around the world come to enjoy the park. It is also part of a watershed that feeds hundreds of creeks and rivers on which agriculture and healthy drinking water depends.
The Wilderness Society is conducting the research in Montana and across the country that demonstrates the insidious nature of the threat.
But Americans of all backgrounds and political persuasions must be heard if our political leaders are to respond to the climate crisis. We must cap harmful emissions and end the dangerous policy of allowing polluters to dump their waste gases into the air for free. How many of our natural wonders need to shrivel into nothingness until action is taken?
Perhaps the strongest reminder is to leave the name in place, with one minor change – “Glacier” National Park – the park that once had glaciers but soon will not.
photo: Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park, showing melting in the lower portion of the glacier. Courtesy RMCO.