History Of Glacier National ParkThe Blackfeet Indians, lived in what was called "The Backbone Of The World", long before any white man started exploring the Rocky Mountains.
These Native Americans, were very protective of their beloved and sacred
lands. The buffalo hunting grounds fed their people, and other more
southern tribes were driven out if possible. The passes through these
mountains were used for their hunting expeditions, and to chase away
Native American beliefs are
strong in their love of all forms of
creation. They are taught that all animals and birds have a voice to
speak with, if we would only listen. The earth, sky, and weather give
them lessons to live by. The mountains have a special meaning to Native
Americans, in that, they feel they draw wisdom and knowledge from them.
Chief Mountain in the northeast corner of Glacier is a very special area
This beautiful mountain stands alone in a prairie away from the other
mountains. It has been described as a Warrior Chief, leading his tribe
toward the rising sun. Still to this day, this mountain is visited by
the Plains Indians for vision quests and Prayer ceremonies.
The first white man to see this beautiful place, may have been Hugh
Monroe, a fur trapper. The Indians named him Rising Wolf. He came in
about 1815 and was soon married to an Indian girl from the Piegan Tribe.
Father De Smet came in 1846 and named two mountain lakes St. Mary's.
For many years, the search was on to find a passage through the
Continental Divide. The idea was to run a railroad over the Rockies.
Native Americans knew about Marias Pass but were not willing to share this
information. Marias is the lowest pass between Canada and Mexico, and would
be the ideal route. History now tell us that it was finally discovered in 1889.
The Great Northern
Railroad was completed in 1892. This rail way around the Park was to be
used by many tourists.
In 1895 a trail was built from Belton to Lake Mc Donald. A steamboat
was brought to the lake and the beautiful Lodge was built. In 1895 it was
thought that there were valuable minerals in the area we now know as
Glacier National Park. The federal Government bought the land from the
Blackfeet Indians, and later discovered there were no minerals to be found,
so the land was made a National Park by congress.
Today, Glacier National Park is known around the world as an outstanding
vacation site, with activities for all ages. There is hiking and
bicycling, skiing, boating, camping, and horseback riding for those who can be
more active. For those who are not as able, the views are stunning from
the "big red busses" and from the many excellent Lodges and Chalets.
Glacier National Park is known as a "World Heritage Site" with natural
majestic beauty. It's beautiful lakes are calming, and show the picture
of snow capped mountains high above. You can walk along the Sun Point
Nature Trail a mile each way, by following the shore line in St. Mary's
valley. St. Mary's Lake is a vision to behold. Be sure to buy a brochure
for 50 cents at the trailhead on the lakes north side. This is about
halfway between Logan Pass and St. Mary's Visitor Center. This Visitor
Center is an interesting informative place to be. It's windows show
beautiful views and the walls have maps to show you the peaks and valleys.
Park Rangers will answer any questions you may have and they show a slide
show every evening at 8: P.M. Blackfoot Indians host a time of dancing and
drumming, once a week. Don't miss it! There is only one larger lake than
St. Mary's in Glacier National Park, which is Lake McDonald.
St. Mary's Lake is located on the East side of the park. The famous
"Going To The Sun Road " runs parallel to it's north shore. The lake is
seven miles long and hundreds of feet deep. Being so high up and so deep,
means it can freeze up to several feet thick of ice in the winter. The
altitude is 4,484 feet and these lake waters are extremely cold. St. Mary's
Lake sits 1,500 feet higher than Lake Mc Donald (The largest lake in
the park) which is on the west side of the Continental Divide.
History Of Glacier National Park written by, Verna Parks.