Canada’s strip-mining isn’t so friendly for Montana’s Glacier National Park

Woman enjoying the view of Glacier National Park, Montana. Photo by Jeff Fox.

What would it say about our prospects for global peace and prosperity if the world’s first International Peace Park were strip-mined and drilled in search of coal and gas?

I wish that question was merely hypothetical, but with Canadian strip-mining and gas drilling threatening the water and wildlife of Montana’s Glacier National Park, the U.S. portion of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the question is all too real.

To be fair to our neighbors to the north, the strip-mining wouldn’t occur in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park proper. Instead it would occur in the area just outside Waterton Lakes National Park (the Canadian component of the Peace Park) in the headwaters of the Flathead River, the river that starts in Canada but soon flows south into the United States to form the western boundary of Montana’s Glacier National Park (the U.S. component of the Peace Park).

But to me, that makes the proposal all the more disturbing.

Gros Ventre Falls in Glacier National Park, Montana. Photo by Jeff Fox.At their root, peace and friendship (the exact qualities the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is meant to symbolize between the United States and Canada) are based on at least some care and consideration for interests outside your own. If Canada’s governments ignore the impacts of the proposed mine on Montana’s Glacier National Park, they are ignoring their responsibility to care for and consider the U.S. component of the International Peace Park. That sort of nonchalant attitude towards one of the United States’ most loved treasures would undermine the very purpose of the Peace Park.

This threat to one of the United States’ most spectacular National Parks has gone on long enough. U.S. and Canadian citizens have expressed their concern to Canada’s governments, Montana’s Governor has too, and so have two U.S. Senators, and the U.S. State Department, and even President Obama when he was campaigning in Montana last June. Now the United Nations might even weigh in to express their concern.

But ultimately all of these concerns are not enough. In the end, Canada’s governments must show their concern for Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and for the peace and friendship it symbolizes between our two nations.

Later this month U.S. and Canadian conservation groups will be petitioning the United Nations to name Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park a World Heritage Site in danger.

Such a declaration will raise the profile of this pressing threat within Canadian governments.

Stay tuned for ways that you can show your support for Glacier National Park, and the world’s first International Peace Park.

Woman enjoying the view of Glacier National Park, Montana. Photo by Jeff Fox.
Gros Ventre Falls in Glacier National Park, Montana. Photo by Jeff Fox.