Glacier National Park Acquires Property of First Glacier Ranger
A 120-acre property, which was the home of one of the first rangers in Glacier National Park’s history, is now part of the park, The Trust for Public Land, National Park Service (NPS), and the National Park Trust announced today.
The property, which was in private ownership but located entirely within the park boundary, is on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River near Harrison Lake. It was originally settled by Dan Doody, who was appointed as one of the first six Glacier rangers after the park was created in 1910. The property is a popular stop along the river due to its unique history and the recreational access it provides.
The Trust for Public Land bought the property for $900,000 and sold it to NPS for the same price. The money came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the federal government’s main source of money for protecting land. It is funded by royalties paid by energy companies in exchange for oil and gas extraction from federal offshore leases.
Alex Diekmann, Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land, said, “This is a classic win-win. It protects the Middle Fork of the Flathead for all the people who enjoy it, and it also protects a part of the park’s more colorful history.”
U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus, both D-Mont., are strong supporters of LWCF and supported the protection of the property.
“This transaction makes one of Montana’s most treasured places whole by securing better access to public land and water,” said Sen. Tester, Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus “This is a smart investment in the future of Glacier National Park and our outdoor heritage, and it will pay dividends for generations to come. I’ll keep working to improve access to Montana’s public places and to protect the history that shaped them.”
“This is great news for Glacier National Park and for our kids and grandkids,” said Sen. Baucus. “Thanks to all the teamwork that’s gone into this effort along with leveraging the Land and Water Conservation Fund, we can further ensure public access to the land and waterways we cherish for hunting, fishing, hiking and enjoying the Last Best Place.”
Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright said, “We greatly value the partnership the National Park Service has with The Trust for Public Land. Through this partnership, we have successfully retained this property that is an integral part of a wildlife migration corridor linking protected lands of Glacier National Park and the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.”
“We are very pleased to work with The Trust for Public Land and the National Park Service to protect this second largest inholding and important wildlife habitat zone in Glacier National Park. This project highlights the essential role that the Land and Water Conservation Fund plays in preserving and protecting these critical lands,” stated Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust.
The Doody homestead was one of the two largest privately-held properties within the park and is used by a variety of animals, including mountain lion, grizzly and black bears, moose, deer, and bald eagles. The property also protects wildlife habitat along the Flathead.
Doody was a prospector, outfitter, and one of the park’s first rangers, but was later fired for excessive poaching of the park’s wildlife. After he died in 1921, his wife, Josephine, lived in their two-story log hunting lodge. She was also a moonshiner whose product was so well-known that passing trains on the Great Northern Railroad would stop and blow their whistles to signal the number of quarts the engineers wanted delivered. She lived on the property until 1931.
Protection of this property is the latest example of The Trust for Public Land’s decade-long commitment to the Crown of the Continent, considered the most intact ecosystem in the lower 48 states. The Crown has been identified as one of the Obama Administration’s highest priority large landscapes through its America’s Great Outdoors initiative.
Many community leaders, businesses and groups worked to support the project, including Glacier Guides, Glacier Distilling, Glacier Outdoor Center, Glacier Raft Company, Glacier Park Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association and American Rivers.
“One of the great privileges of providing rafting trips on the Middle Fork of the Flathead is being able to educate our guests about Glacier and to share the historic significance of early settlers of the area. The legends of the Doodys, both Dan and Josephine, have provided many good tales of lore for us to share with our rafting guests as we float past their former homestead property. We are so pleased that this purchase was brought about by all the hard work of The Trust for Public Land and the National Park Service,” said Sally Thompson co-owner, Glacier Raft Company.