Whitefish, MT – Tourism

Whitefish, MT – Tourism


– [Kate McMahon] We live in Whitefish so that we can get outside
and enjoy the great outdoors. I mean I can go hiking, I can ride my mountain bike, literally just walking out my front door. (peaceful music) My views, when I walk my dog everyday, are looking into Glacier National Park. You know, I’m fortunate to live here and I realize that, but
this is a small community and we have a lot more
tourists coming in the summer than we’ve ever had before. And as much as we sometimes, you know, we look at the tourists as, “Oh, they’re having this negative
impact on our community”, they should be able to
experience the great outdoors. (peaceful music) – [Jeff Mow] So, Glacier National Park generally ranks as one of
the 10th most popular parks in the National Park Service. We were the first
national park in the West to have over a million
visitors in one month, even more than Yellowstone
did in that month. There is some of that idea
of with melting glaciers, you better come see them
before they’re all gone so… (peaceful music) The National Park
Service, many consider us as the story tellers of
so much of our natural and cultural heritage in the United States and here at Glacier, our stories now being quite dominated by
all the change we’re seeing as a response to climate change. – [Kate McMahon] As a
consultant, I am working with the city on their sustainable
tourism master plan. First thing we did was identify
what the major issues were. – [Jeff Mow] You know,
for so many visitors that come to Glacier National
Park, how do they see it, how do they get here and, you know, they find out they have to rent a car. – [Kate McMahon] When you think
about the carbon footprint, we are in a typically isolated
area, so people are going to fly in, or they are going to drive and all those things are dependent
on fossil fuels right now. People will say that Glacier Park is the poster child for climate change. – [Jeff Mow] When you’re
standing in front of this huge white monolith, it looks
like it’s part of the Earth itself, it looks like it’s
the surrounding mountains and yet, you can look at a photo and see how its changed and the change is just breathtaking. Us humans, we aren’t
used to seeing landscape change so dramatically. – [Kate McMahon] The number
changes but, I’ve heard that by 2030, which is
now just 10 years off, that there will be no more glaciers in Glacier National Park. The ecology will change,
vegetation will change, the species that rely on
those vegetation will change, but, probably the biggest change, I think, are the wildfires. – Three out of the last four
years, we’ve had large fires here in the park, which is
really outside the historic norm. I learned this from the
scientists that work here in the park, is that if we
continue with these hotter trends with more frequent fires,
you’ll just destroy every new generation of forest trying
to move in and this will be a transformation of grasslands. – [Kate McMahon] So, I
know that this, y’know, beautiful place, that’s going to change. So, one of the things that
we’ve talked about is, y’know, how can tourism maybe become
an asset or a resource? (upbeat music) – [Jeff Mow] If we’re
gonna be more adaptable to uncertainty in the face of climate change, can only be done by a lot of boots on the ground being very,
very motivated, so… (upbeat music) – [Kate McMahon] You need
to have people come to the national parks and
the national forests and fall in love with these places, ’cause they’re not gonna
want to preserve them if they can’t experience it themselves. (upbeat music) – [Jeff Mow] So, we got
local utilities on board, we got the city of Whitefish to move a large tourism organizations
that are all trying to collaborate and see how
do we reduce the footprint for our visitors. So, yeah, visitation has gone up a lot. But, they need to come to places
like Glacier National Park. It’s a sense of discovery
that I think actually provides some of the inspiration to take action.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *