Over the past 100 years, the planet's surface has warmed by about 1.5 °. Northwestern Montana has warmed at about twice this rate in recent years. This rapid rate of warming is melting the park's glaciers, increasing the likelihood of wildfires and displacing wildlife habitat including moose.
The Glaciers National Park has almost all non-introduced plant and animal species: think of large mammals such as the grizzly bear, the elk and the snow goat, as well as rare or endangered specimens such as the wolverine and the Canadian lynx.
Hundreds of ornithological species have been documented, more than a dozen species of fish and some reptiles and amphibians, all distributed in ecosystems that alternate from prairie to tundra. The south-eastern forests, composed mostly of western red cedars and tsughe, are particularly exposed to forest fires, which have affected the park practically every year since 1964.
As many as 64 fires occurred in 1936, the highest number ever recorded, while, in 2003, six fires damaged about 550 km², over 13% of the park. The protected area straddles the Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada, and when it is sometimes considered together with the latter, the two regions are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the first of its kind to be established.
to the world in 1932. Both parks were designated by the United Nations as a biosphere reserve in 1976 and in 1995 as a World Heritage Site. In April 2017, the joint park received a provisional gold quality designation from the International Dark-Sky Association, making it the first not included in a single nation.
The protection of the site by the responsible body has become even more important since UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1995. The local National Park Service headquarters, located in West Glacier, Montana, oversees and records the influx of people who have ascended during the third millennium.
In anticipation of the park's 100th anniversary in 2010, a massive rebuilding of Going-to-the-Sun Street was completed. The Federal Highway Administration oversaw the rebuilding project in partnership with the National Park Service.
Some rehabilitations of major facilities such as visitor centers and historic hotels, as well as improvements in wastewater treatment plants and campgrounds, are expected to be completed by the anniversary date. The National Park Service is engaged in fisheries studies for Lake McDonald to assess the state and develop protection programs to improve native fish populations.
Park trail restoration, youth and education programs, trail improvements and many community programs have been planned and are ongoing. Forest fires have been a threat to protected areas such as forests and parks for many decades: to better understand the extent of the phenomenon, it must be borne in mind that it was after the 1960s that the fires multiplied.
Previous suppression policies have also recklessly opted for the accumulation of dead and decaying trees and plants, making it easier for the flames to spread. The increase in population, coupled with the growth of suburban areas near the parks, has led to the development of what is known in English as Wildland Urban Interface Fire Management, i.e.
a park management program with adjacent property managers to improve safety. and the prevention, as far as possible, of fires.