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West Glacier Resident Wins 2016 GNP Stewardship Award

Kalispell, MT.  Headwaters Montana announced today the 2016 recipient of the Jack Potter Glacier National Park Stewardship Award established to help promote stewardship of Glacier Park’s spectacular natural resources.

West Glacier resident Mary T. McClelland will receive the award from Headwaters Montana this month.  The award consists of a hand-blown glass sculptured trophy of a water ouzel donated by Bigfork glass artist Lee Proctor and a cash award of $200.

“Mary T. McClelland has watched the quiet of Glacier Park erode over years as visitor numbers have increased.  In particular, the overflight of scenic tour helicopters has increased dramatically in recent years.  Mary T. has worked tirelessly to address this issue, one of the most common complaints of visitors to Glacier,” said Dave Hadden, executive director of Headwaters Montana. 

Mary T. has spearheaded the effort to restore natural quiet to Glacier Park, working cooperatively with the Park to promote public awareness of the issues.  She is quick to point out that many others have attempted to address this issue for years.  She formed a coalition of 29 local and national stakeholders under the name “Friends for a Quiet! Glacier” and started an educational website and an online petition.  The petition has garnered more than 31,000 signatures and 3,200 comments supporting a Quiet! Glacier from all 50 states and 40 countries.  (To learn more google “Quiet! Glacier”.)

Quiet! Glacier maintains that, “in Glacier National Park, according to 2015 visitor numbers, less than 1% of visitors take recreational helicopter air tours, destroying 100% of the natural sounds and causing adverse impact for 99% of park visitors.”

In a survey of the American public, “95 percent of participants felt that experiencing natural peace and the sounds of nature were important reasons to preserve national parks."

Quiet! Glacier proposes to “restore quiet to Glacier for the benefit of present and future generations and its magnificent wildlife,” by eliminating scenic overflights.

“It takes real guts, dedication and a lot of hard work to take on an issue like this as a citizen-advocate,” said Hadden.  “Glacier Park helps drive the local economy, and as a crown jewel in our national park system, we need to protect its natural features - like natural quiet - that make it special in the first place.”

Headwaters Montana established the award in 2011.

“The award is really about taking a courageous stand for stewardship of Glacier’s natural resources,” explained Hadden.  “Each recipient of the award has demonstrated that they acted above and beyond the call of duty.  As a citizen volunteer, Mary T. McClelland surely meets this tough criterion.”

Readers interested in reading more about the Stewardship Award or who wish to nominate an individual or organization can visit the Headwaters Montana website at www.headwatersmontana.org.  The nomination period remains open until October 31, 2017.

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