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Glacier National Park, circa 1933
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David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Glacier National Park, circa 1933 on 01/19/2012 07:20:07 MST Print View


Recently I had occasion to be an NPS patrol cabin (volunteering with wolverine DNA research), and found the above old map. A time when more money existed for trail building, evidently. I took some photos of the sections most interesting to contrast with today, and posted them:

They're easier to zoom on wordpress.

Robert Dusing
(morob325) - F

Locale: texas
old trails on 01/23/2012 19:42:05 MST Print View

That's a pretty interesting find. I worked there this past summer doing loon monitoring and am jealous of the people who do the wolverine projects during the winter.

Those old trails around the north fork would allow for some loops other than just quartz. And after hiking to grace lake, I'd love to try that old (lookout?) trail that goes up logging mtn.

Most trails seem to have less switchbacks than today's, and some of the steeper ones I've been on (bowman to lower quartz) appear to be from this period.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Difference on 01/23/2012 20:28:17 MST Print View

If I had to guess, I'd say the biggest difference is there were still glaciers in 1933!

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Glacier National Park, circa 1933" on 01/23/2012 20:48:28 MST Print View

Mark Klett went down this rabbit hole with his rephotographic surveys of the American West . It is amazing what truths historical records hold and how they shed light on the impact we have on our wilderness.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Glacier Park circa 1933 on 01/23/2012 22:11:36 MST Print View

Facinating find David. Unfortunately my Montana atles is not here so I can only compare so much but with your comments I can see a bit more of whats changed. Interesting that road just dissapeared.
My perspective on "wilderness" has changed a bit from hiking along parts of the AT and Colorado Trail. If you do your research you'll realize that very few areas haven't been impacted by people at some point. For example I passed mining ruins along the most remote spots along the CT. Somehow the "wilerness" came back. Maybe focusing on increasingly smaller chunks of wildland not in already in the wilderness systme is the wrong approach for wildenress activists. Maybe instead they should look at a longer term program of returning some of the areas that have been logged or mined in the past back to a wilderness state.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Going-to-the-Sun Road on 01/23/2012 22:15:30 MST Print View

I'm not sure who you'd know more about this, but I imagine a lot of the "lost" trails have to do with the opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in 1932. My guess is that the North Fork trails especially just weren't seeing the same hiking pressure (like a lot of West Side hikes) and the NPS just let them go. It's a shame, though, as it's some excellent area to explore.

I'd really love to hear more about the park's process in managing trails and all that.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Historic Topo on 01/24/2012 10:11:40 MST Print View

Not sure if you guys know about this or not but this resource may be of interest to you:

USGS has recently digitized and made publically accessible their entire historic topographic map collection for the US for free. There's a few states or parts of states that aren't finished yet but will be soon. You can view and download the full size maps to your own computer and edit, print, etc. from there. USGS also provides their own map viewing/editing software for free (GEO-PDF).

In some cases (including parts of Glacier National Park), there are historic maps dating back to the early 1900s. It's a pretty amazing way to see how the trail networks, camps, ranger stations, etc. have evolved over the decades. In the case of my local backcountry, it's been eye opening to see how many trails have come and gone and to find the locations of historic cabins, campsites, etc., some of which are still out there in varying degrees of decay.

The next step, which USGS is working on (some states are already done), is to make the new 2011 7.5 quads available for free download as part of the same collection.

Here's the home page for the USGS map archives