Glacier National Park

Essay by prodigy17College, UndergraduateA, December 2008

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Glacier National Park (NP) is a 40,820 mi mountainous park in the northwestern corner of Montana and is the most commonly known park in the United States next to Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks. Glacier NP’s past is not only carved by glaciers themselves, but it includes a great deal of history; from Indian territory to some of the largest ice masses in the world, Glacier NP peaks high among the greatest. Glacier NP is one of the few glacier-dwelling parks in the United States and the park’s beauty should be well-preserved for eternity.

The history of Glacier NP is an extensive journey, but with it a person can grow to appreciate the park that much more. There have been recent archaeological surveys conducted by national park specialists and they have found human use of the Glacier area dating back 10,000 years. These people were ancestors of tribes that still live in the area.

When the first European explorers, said to be Ferdinand Magellan and shipmates, arrived in the region in 1520, there were many tribes already living in the area. Within ten to fifteen years the explorers found that most of the eastern mountain prairies were controlled by the Blackfeet Indians. The Salish and Kootenai Indians lived and hunted in the western valleys. Each tribe had created small, but complex communities that Magellan and his crew greatly admired upon discovering them. Both tended to move in the direction of where the buffalo were to graze. The buffalo were a vital source of food, weapons, tools and clothes to each tribe. It seemed that grazing for food was not the only reason for the buffalo’s migration. After years of cross-translations and documentaries, the natives told stories of how the new settlers drove the buffalo and other key animals out of...