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Glacier Park's new leader on budgets, community, and climate change

NPS Photo / Jay Elhard

Glacier National Park’s new leader says the Park is facing many challenges, and opportunities. New Superintendent Jeff Mow is heading south, to Glacier National Park after more than 20-years working in Alaska.

“I have actually had the northern-most duty station in the National Park Service which is in the small Eskimo village of Anaktuvuk Pass in the Brooks Range, I lived there for a couple years. So, anything is moving south in the National Park Service,” Mow said.

Mow has also worked as a park ranger at Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, and District ranger, chief of operations and subsistence manager at Gates of the Arctic National Park. He’s served as a Congressional Fellow working with the U-S Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and as superintendent at Kenai Fjords.

Mow identified challenges facing Glacier including an aging infrastructure in the Pak buildings as well as budget uncertainties.

“We are quickly approaching the beginning of the fiscal year, and it’s still very uncertain how Congress will handle the new fiscal year; whether it’ll be through a continuing resolution, continuing Sequestration, higher levels of sequestration, we just don’t know,” Mow said.

He sees opportunities for the Park with the National Park Service Centennial in 2016. Also, Mow said the ongoing corridor management plan is the next step with construction on the Going to the Sun Road slated to wrap up in the next couple of years.

Another issue bringing uncertainty is climate change. Mow calls managing in the face of a changing climate a difficult and interesting balance.

“What’s important about the National Parks, it’s not only for us to have intact ecosystems, but for us to have outstanding recreational opportunities for people to learn and understand about how sensitive some of these ecosystems are,” Mow said.

He said another area he intends to focus energy on is growing partnerships with community organizations as well as connecting young people with the Park.

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