The dramatic cliffs and knife-edge ridges of the Crown of the Continent were carved during the Ice Age, thousands of years ago. But Glacier Park was also well known for its modern glaciers. George Bird Grinnell, in fact, posed for a photograph on an icy glacier that today bears his name in the Many Glacier Valley.
In 1910, Glacier Park had 150 glaciers. Today, 26 remain. At this rate, according to USGS ecologist Dr. Dan Fagre, they will melt away entirely by 2030. These ancient ice sheets are the indisputable evidence that the Crown of the Continent’s local climate is changing. It’s getting warmer. Fagre and other scientists who study the climate tell us that:
• Annual mountain temperatures have increased some 2 degrees F in the past 25 years.
• Compared to 100 years ago, the region has, on average, 30 fewer days a year when the temperature drops below 0 degrees.
• Compared to 100 years ago, the number of days per year when the temperature in the region exceeds 90 degrees has tripled.
Small wonder the ice is melting. The science is clear: expect a warmer, drier Crown of the Continent.