Glacier Preservation Project: Bidding a final Farewell
Photographing and preserving the memory of the last 25 glaciers in Glacier National Park during their last 5-10 years on earth.
Very simply put, we will lose the last 25 remaining glaciers in Glacier National Park in the next 5-10 years. My family has dedicated the last two summers to preserving the memory of these incredible features through photographic artistry. With many nights in the backcountry and hundreds of miles of on and off-trail travel so far, we are about to embark on the really intense portion of this project. ;-) I am proud of my kiddos. They have seen many 15+ mile days and still keep tagging along to help out their dad. 2016 will mark the completion of the project and we will launch another Kickstarter project to self publish the coolest coffee table book ever, dedicated to each of the 25 last glaciers. Right now, we could use some help replacing some of the gear we have worn out and or some newer well designed gear to help protect the old gear that still works (that includes these old bones.) Besides, it's nice to be able to keep the kiddos warm and dry. A 14mm lens that took a 400 yard tumble down the mountain, another backpacking tent, lightweight sleeping bags, backpacks and a few more things that run up a pretty expensive bill quickly. And trail runners. We go through shoes faster than anything else.
I would like to have a little bit of money for marketing also. Anyone who loves our national parks or cares about wilderness preservation seems to jump right in and follow along, so the challenge is just getting the word out.
We have some creative funding levels that allow you to actually be a part of the project instead of just getting something cool, so we hope you all enjoy those opportunities. Let us know if you have any other ideas for funding levels, too.
Join us as we bid a final farewell to the last 25 glaciers of Glacier National Park!
Risks and challenges
This is the part where I tell you how there aren't any risks or challenges of hiking hundreds of miles and spending many nights in the backcountry of one of the most remote corners of the continent. Relax. What could go wrong? Ha! We have already spent the previous two summers working on the project and have a pretty good idea of things that can go wrong. We've been soaking wet and cold, dehydrated to the point that our throats were beginning to swell, blisters, shin splints, and I can even tell you the color of a grizzly bear's eyelashes. There is plenty that can go wrong but the most critical factor is weather. It is unpredictable and can turn life-threatening in minutes. The right gear is crucial and that is why we are asking for support before we even launch the final Kickstarter campaign for the book.
We see about a 6-week window of opportunity to photograph these glaciers each summer between the beginning of August and mid-September. It takes that long into the summer before the annual snow has melted from the surface of the glaciers and we usually start to see snow again by mid-September. The fern line is the line of snow that moves up the glacier as the annual snow melts and reveals the ice underneath. On a normal year that usually approaches the mid line of the glacier and that is when we go to work. Last summer our small window was narrowed to about 3 weeks, since we saw the first two weeks of August producing heavy rain and cloud cover, and the first week after that I ended up with a kidney stone. This summer is shaping up to be a dry one and that will mean we may get an early start but will have to worry about forest fires keeping us out of Glacier Park later on. If we could control the climate we wouldn't need this project, but until then, well designed gear will help us be in the right place at the right time.
Another challenge that we have noticed the last couple of years is the lack of interest from the local population here in Northwest Montana. Don't get me wrong, they are nice folks and we have several strong supporters locally. I have described our project to local folks and had them give me the ol' "Hmm. Sounds interesting." reply more often than not. I'm not sure why that is, but I know a lot of locals that won't even visit Glacier National Park because there are "too many people around"! Because of this, we realized we were going to need to find support from outside our area. Even if you can't support the project financially may we ask you to share a link anywhere you can?
Another challenge is the length of the project. Kickstarter likes us to be able to deliver the backer rewards no longer than 12 months after the completion of the campaign. Because of the scope of this project, it just wasn't possible. We hoped to finish in two years but ended up with a short season last year and are going to split this last year into two hoping to take advantage of the National Park Service's 2016 campaign of "Kids in the Parks" to promote our project. We have all been working out and getting in shape so that we are physically capable of putting in twenty-mile days without being destroyed the next morning.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)