You are here

Winner of the 2014 Jack Potter Glacier National Park Stewardship Award

  January 23, 2015.  It gives us great pleasure to announce the recipient of  the 2014 recipient of the Jack Potter Glacier National Park Stewardship Award established to help promote stewardship of Glacier Park's spectacular natural resources.  This year, Headwaters Montana selected Park Ranger Brad Blickhan.  [Please read more...]

Here's what the nominator said about Brad Blickhan:

"For more than 20 years, Brad Blickhan has made resource stewardship a fundamental priority of his law enforcement career at Glacier National Park. He exemplifies the traits of the traditional park ranger, working vigorously to balance the challenges of protecting the “natural and historic objects and the wild life therein” while providing for the enjoyment of the same for this and future generations. Brad’s efforts to (1) protect the watersheds of the North Fork and Middle Fork of the Flathead River and (2) define and protect critical winter range habitat for ungulate populations serve as two specific examples of his resource-based approach to rangering. Just as it was with Jack Potter, it is truly inspiring to work alongside the enthusiasm and passion that clearly guide Brad’s efforts.

"Glacier’s pristine freshwater ecosystems are both one of its most important natural resources and host to some of its most popular recreational activities. While conducting river patrols in 2011 and 2012, Brad noticed and documented the adverse effects of increased river use along the borders of the park. Human waste, fire rings, litter, and social trails to and from illegal toilet areas were degrading the quality of the Wild and Scenic River watershed. Brad not only called attention to the problem, but actively and independently sought out solutions to mitigate the damage. Brad wrote and obtained a $4,000 grant which made possible an educational outreach publication program and the purchase of wag bags, fire pans, and bear-proof coolers for public use. Visitors to the area can now obtain these items from the park, free of charge, each time they pick up their overnight river permits. Throughout the summers of 2013 and 2014, river users were better informed and equipped with the tools they needed to recreate responsibly on a river system that is valuable part of the National Wild and Scenic River System

"Park wildlife have also benefitted from Brad’s ability to envision creative solutions to improve resource protection and see them through to implementation. In past years, already-stressed local ungulate populations have been negatively impacted by human presence during their most vulnerable winter months—a disturbance largely driven by illegal “horn hunting” activities. Backed by a number of scientific research studies, Brad presented a fact-based case to the Superintendent supporting a regulation protecting key wildlife wintering areas from human entry. Now included in the park’s compendium, this regulation helps park rangers to better manage human presence through the implementation of temporary closures and/or trail use restrictions in and around critical winter-range habitat. Over time, the regulation has the potential to help promote healthier ungulate herds, which may result in positive impacts across the region

'In addition to these two examples, it’s worth noting that Brad Blickhan’s dedication to Glacier and its resources extends beyond the parameters of his regular employment. Early in 2013, on the 100th anniversary of Ranger Norton Pearl’s historic winter circumnavigation of Glacier National Park, Brad followed the exact path of this grueling and challenging resource-protection achievement. Over a two-week period, Ranger Blickhan, like Ranger Pearl, was challenged by frigid temperatures and avalanche conditions during his trek, monitoring baseline human use, wildlife activity, domestic stock effects on park resources, and winter conditions along the way. But unlike Ranger Pearl, Brad Blickhan conducted most of the 100+ mile patrol during his job furlough—without pay.

'These are just three examples of how park resources have benefited from Brad’s determined efforts to bring a resource focus to his work in law enforcement at Glacier National Park; talk with Brad for any period of time and it will be evident that he sees his job through a resources lens, and like Jack Potter, is extremely passionate about his duty to protect the natural wonders that Glacier’s visitors come to see and experience. When examined with respect to all the other duties that he manages as the Lake McDonald Area Ranger—such as responding to high-risk law enforcement calls, managing search and rescue incidents, and maintaining structural fire readiness, the tenacity Brad brings to resource protection is made all the more impressive. His record of service and stewardship to Glacier National Park make him an excellent candidate for the Jack Potter Glacier National Park Stewardship award.

"The following people support this nomination: [25 Colleagues and associates]