Sue Schubert; Ryan Barr, backcountry ranger intern; Richard Schubert, presenting a check for $5,000 to Cheryl Klein, president GNPVA; and Jason Griswold, NPS District Ranger (photo taken 8-22-2016 by Barbara Lancaster)
A winter climbing tragedy in 1995 in Glacier National Park has become the genesis for an on-going, now 21 year-old backcountry ranger internship in the Park.
Taggart Schubert, a “huge free spirit”, had camped in the Park during the summers for over a decade when he moved to Kalispell and then enrolled at the University of Montana in Missoula. He became a summer employee for Glacier National Park, working at the Apgar Visitor Center and then receiving a summer backcountry internship at the Goat Haunt Ranger Station.
In the winter of 1995, Taggart died while attempting to climb Mount Jackson, one of the tallest peaks in the park, with some friends.
The following year Richard and Sue Schubert, Taggart’s parents, were thinking of establishing a memorial fund to recognize Taggart’s love for the park. Coincidentally, at the same time the Glacier National Park Associates (now the Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates, or GNPVA) had become interested in funding a backcountry ranger intern program.
The Schuberts and the Associates, headed at that time by Mary Grace Galvin of Kalispell, got together and established the Taggart Schubert Memorial Fund and the Backcountry Ranger Intern Fund as a way to both honor the memory of Taggart and to supply the funds and organization necessary to support a backcountry ranger internship, hopefully for 50 years.
The backcountry ranger intern this summer was Ryan Barr, an Air Force veteran from the west coast. Ryan is a senior at the University of Montana, Missoula, majoring in Parks, Tourism and Recreation Management. He hopes to have a career in the National Park Service, as an area ranger, then a district ranger, hopefully in Glacier National Park. “Many times I’ve come to Glacier National Park in search of solitude or solace”, Ryan noted recently, “what grew in me was a desire not only to continue exploring, but a desire to protect this great place for other’s seeking that same solitude and solace. This internship was an excellent way to build the foundation for my future career as a ranger.”
Other recent interns include Audrey Jones, who is serving an internship in Africa; Andrea Lang, who is working for NPS at Denali in Alaska; and Justin Ivory, who is an investigative officer for NPS and who returned to the area a few years ago to aid in the investigation of a murder in the park.
The Schuberts have contributed approximately $46,000 to the Memorial Fund. Funds collected over the years through fundraising efforts and donations by GNPVA and its membership have brought the total of funds raised to nearly $100,000. This has provided a salary for an intern for the past 21 years. At the current salary of $8,000 per season, the internship program will end in approximately eight years, far short of the 50 year target. Additional fundraising efforts are being discussed that would help the Schuberts and the Volunteer Associates reach that goal.
For more information on the Taggart Shubert Memorial Fund and the Backcountry Ranger Intern Fund, please visit the Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates website, GNPVA.org, or contact Cheryl Klein at 270-4189.