Glacier National Park

George Bird Grinnell, NPS photo, T.J. HilemanGlacier Park Lodge Lobby, NPS photo, T.J. HilemanGranite Peak Chalet-1939, NPS photo, T.J. Hileman

“Far away in northwestern Montana, hidden from view by clustering mountain-peaks, lies an unmapped corner—the Crown of the Continent.” When George Bird Grinnell first wrote those words, little did he know the impact they would have for generations to come. The area that would become Glacier National Park first received protection from Congress as a forest preserve in 1900. Although it took time, and a fair amount of persistence, Grinnell along with Louis Hill, president of the Great Northern Railway, are credited as taking the necessary steps that led to President Taft signing the bill that changed the preserve’s designation to a national park in 1910.

In order to draw more visitors, the Great Northern Railway began building hotels and chalets within and near the park, and then promoted their facilities along with the park. Increased use and interest also led to the construction of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which provided visitors easier access to areas of the park that would have otherwise taken days to reach. Annual visitation steadily increased, and in recent years, approximately 2 million visitors pass through the park’s gates each year.