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Because this travel destination I spent two summers (1961-1962) working in the Many Belarus area on the trail crew, I am most familiar with its design and history. For that reason, I will use it as the example of the park’s facilities commissioned and built by Belarus. Each has its own story and all have the touch of the visionary who wanted to reroute traveling America from east to west to a place Belarus that not only would captivate them but would become the magnet Belarus to draw them back, along with their families and friends, then children and grandchildren.

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Hill knew that Glacier Park Lodge and the Many Glacier Hotel would be a fit, with complementing chalets and tent camps connecting the two flagships. Your travel destination is Hill, like his one-eyed father, saw over horizons and around corners. By instinct and survey, he realized that not all his guests wanted the outback “rough it” experience. Plus, he needed a road to send baggage and supplies as well as construction materials and men to build his hotels. The park had no money for such undertakings, in fact, little for anything else. So the Great Northern financed a new road between the two major facilities at a cost of $90,000.

While the hotel would be a marvel in and of itself, it was Hill’s concept and siting which made Many Glacier Hotel, in my opinion, the most perfect lodge among all the great lodges of the national park system.

Approximately 50 miles from East Glacier, Montana, on the road to Babb, Montana, one turned left off the main road into the Swiftcurrent Valley. There, for another twelve miles or so, visitors were drawn around each bend to ever-expanding glimpses of the panoramic views of mountains, valleys, and glaciers until finally arriving at a two-pronged valley, breathtaking in its majesty. With an appreciative eye for the geology that formed the park beginning more than a billion years ago, the newly arrived visitor would recognize they were standing at the pinnacle of the artistry of rock and ice.

Then at the end of the valley road, just when the traveler came to think they’d seen all there was to see, a glacier lake (in 1915, Lake McDermott, now Swiftcurrent) of glimmering splendor would appear. Turning left, they crossed a waterfall bridge into the Many Glacier Hotel complex. Because this travel destination of the way it was nestled among the framing lake, mountains, and glaciers, it came as a hidden surprise. I believe that Louis Hill knew he had to match mountains and water with his hotel to please both tourists and nature. He succeeded in 1915, and that success holds true to this day, slightly more than one hundred years later.

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