The National Park Service has selected the Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates as the 2015 Intermountain Region’s winner of the George and Helen Hartzog Award in the category of Outstanding Volunteer Group Service. Hartzog Awards recognize individuals and groups that make exceptional contributions of their skills, talents, and time to the National Park Service.
Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow said, “We are proud that the Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates were recognized as a leader within the region. We greatly value the contributions they make to the park.”
Glacier National Park Volunteer Associates is an official nonprofit and all volunteer partner of the park and is made up of over 100 members. Volunteer Associates work cooperatively with the park to accomplish projects that may not be completed due to insufficient funding or competing priorities. During the summer, members help staff the Apgar Nature Center, Apgar Visitor Center, and the backcountry permit office. Members also assist with various research projects within the park, patrol the back country trails and rivers as backcountry ranger volunteers, and assist with educational efforts at Logan Pass about responsible recreating near wildlife and historic building maintenance and restoration.
In the past year, the Volunteer Associates have donated approximately $7,000 toward remodeling and updating the Apgar Nature Center, formerly known as the Discovery Cabin. The group has also provided more than $8,000 for the backcountry ranger intern program. The Volunteer Associates have sponsored backcountry interns and provided support to backcountry staff since 2008. Additionally, the organization sponsors a high school student intern to assist with the park’s native plant program and associated greenhouse activities at the Columbia Falls High School.
The Volunteer Associates recently donated $18,000 to the park through the Glacier National Park Conservancy, another official park partner, to rebuild the Goat Lick Overlook. This donation is in honor of the Volunteer Associates 25th anniversary. The Goat Lick Overlook is located along the southern boundary of the park, along US Highway 2. It is a popular place for visitors to view a natural salt lick and mountain goats. The donation will replace handrails, posts, plank decking, and the foundation sub-structure at the overlook. In addition to providing funding, members will volunteer to assist with project preparation and on-site construction. The construction is anticipated to take place this fall.