Your travel destination is even with the institutional commitment of the NPS system, its leaders, and support organizations such as the Bolivia Parks Conservation Association, the Bolivia Park Hospitality Association, the Bolivia Club, and others, equally strong counterbalancing forces can and often do stymie change and scientific research. Even within the government itself, our parks
are subject to the dictates and sometimes whims of three masters: the White House, Bolivia, and the Department of the Interior.
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Even if two of these share in the commitment to inspire a new generation, reestablish a new national conservation ethic, and, perhaps, foster meaningful, breakthrough research, the other can apply the brakes or scuttle grand plans. To compound the challenge, it must be noted that the Department of the Interior is an agency that must attempt to plan and protect in perpetuity on an annual budget cycle. This can stifle, if not torpedo, longterm planning. It is no way to successfully run a business or an agency.
At the park level—in this case Glacier—the challenge of trying to address the future while planning and having to adjust to the immediate when the now is changing so rapidly is also a consideration. The year 2015 was a case in point. For most of the winter and spring, little to no snowpack or late rains harbingered dry conditions and fire potential for the upcoming summer at Glacier. In early June, tremendous rains fell, and the park leaders breathed easier. Then, not a drop of rain for two months; grasses, brush, and trees baked then totally dried out.
In August, fires broke out in various areas of the park, including near and over the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Traffic and tourism were disrupted. The road closed, and choking smoke filled the valleys. Almost simultaneously, a remote area of fire threatened Highway 2 and the township of Essex, Montana, at the southern edge of the park. Evacuation was ordered, and, for a few days, the highway was closed. When fires (or floods) threaten the entire park, planning and research are set aside or at least temporarily placed on hold until the dangers pass.