In case you haven’t heard about it already, the Vital Ground Foundation and the US Forest Service are working on something called the “Glacier Gateway Project.”
They are proposing to acquire two properties totaling about 23 acres using Land and Water Conservation Funds (LWCF). The parcels are along the section of the Polebridge Loop Road between the Polebridge Mercantile and the entrance to Glacier National Park. The acquisition would connect adjacent public lands managed by the Flathead National Forest along the designated Wild and Scenic corridor of the North Fork Flathead River.
The owners of both properties are willing sellers who wish to protect their lands from further development. (There are rumors that one potential buyer wanted to build an RV park.)
What’s the trails connection? The Pacific Northwest Trail runs along the Polebridge Loop Road after the trail emerges from Glacier Park. Sharing the road with motorized traffic, especially during tourist season, is less than ideal. Acquiring the Glacier Gateway parcels makes it easier for the Forest Service to achieve its eventual goal of a separate trail parallel to the road.
Here’s the deal: Vital Ground and the Forest Service are hoping to get individuals and organizations to send in letters of support for this proposal *by the end of the month.*
Want to read more? Here are the project documents:
Glacier Gateway Project Fact Sheet
Glacier Gateway Project Pictures
Glacier Gateway Project Sample Support Letter (Word format; also see note below)
NOTE: Even though the sample letter is addressed to Leanne Marten, the USFS Regional Forester, please send letters of support (by email preferably) to Mitch Doherty at the Vital Ground Foundation so that he can scan them and include them with the application submission. Here is Mitch’s contact information:
Conservation Program Manager
Vital Ground Foundation
20 Fort Missoula Rd 59804-7202