WEST GLACIER, MT. – The Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates (GNPVA) received the 2016 National Park Service Wes Henry Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship Award during a ceremony this week in Washington D.C.
Cheryl Klein, GNPVA president, accepted the award on August 1 on behalf of the group, who was recognized for outstanding contributions to wilderness stewardship by a non-governmental partner. The GNPVA&#’;s Ranger Intern program are two of the many programs the volunteers support in Glacier National Park.
2016 marks the 27th year of service for the Backcountry. With a membership of more than 100 volunteers, GNPVA has accomplished many projects to support GNPVA operations and preservation, including approximately 7,000 hours of service to Glacier National Park annually.
“The Volunteer Associates play an essential role in the park’s backcountry and wilderness areas,” said Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “Collectively they hike almost 5,000 miles each summer and reach out to nearly 12,000 visitors along the trail. Without them, our ability to provide routine visitor safety information and wilderness management in our park’s most remote places would be significantly diminished.”
The volunteers contribute to every function of backcountry patrol, including monitoring compliance with backcountry regulations, assisting with emergency functions, providing minor maintenance at backcountry campsites, and sharing information about Leave No Trace principles.
Additionally, the organization supports the backcountry GNPVA Ranger Intern program, which provides one college student with a Backcountry ranger internship for the summer, stationed at the Walton Ranger Station. This program is supported by the backcountry Schubert Memorial Fund.
Though the award specifically recognizes Taggart program, the organization also supports a number of other critical park functions including working in park visitor centers, the GNPVA&#’;s Nature Center, the native plant nursery, the backcountry permit office, Apgar campgrounds, citizen science, trails, and historic preservation and general maintenance.
To learn more about the backcountry projects or to get involved, visit gnpva.org.