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Don’t be surprised to see a personable pup working alongside her National Park Service ranger-partner when you travel the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. “Bark Ranger” Gracie is a well-trained border collie tasked with keeping wildlife away from (human) park visitors in busy areas like the Logan Pass parking lot. She’s specially trained to move wildlife like bighorn sheep or mountain goats away without any physical contact. She intimidates them with her stare and moves them just far enough away so they can still be seen and photographed by visitors. Gracie does not work with predators like bears, and she has proven more effective than traditional hazing techniques like shouting or arm-waving.

Habituation occurs when animals have repeated contact with and lose their fear of humans. Habituated wildlife may appear tame, but they are still wild animals and can be aggressive or dangerous.

When she’s not working, Gracie and her handler often chat with visitors about staying a safe distance away from wildlife. They are wildlife safety ambassadors and even have an Instagram account. You might see her working in her orange vest at Logan Pass during the summer, happily posing for a selfie – or just enjoying belly rubs.

“Bark Ranger” Gracie looks back at Ranger Mark Biel while watching a herd of bighorn rams grazing just downhill from the Logan Pass parking lot in Glacier National Park in July 2017. Gracie and Ranger Mark prevented these sheep from ever entering the parking lot. Courtesy National Park Service/Alice W. Biel

For more information on Montana, visit VisitMT.com.

Ramona Holt grew up as a promoter of the West, having participated in kids’, intercollegiate and professional rodeo. For 30 years, Ramona and her husband, Bill, traveled throughout the Western United States, Canada and Australia promoting professional rodeo and the West. In 1989, when Montana celebrated its centennial, she had the honor of starting the first parade prior to the Western Montana Fair. Today, as a trustee representing Western Montana for the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center, she recommends people and ranches to be honored each year. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association honored her as the “Notable Lady of the West” at its World of Rodeo Reunion in Las Vegas in 2018.

Her life has been dedicated to telling the story of the Western way of life through many avenues, including the Missoula Chamber of Commerce, Destination Missoula and Glacier Country Tourism. Ramona says, “The best way to perpetuate our beloved Western way of life is to encourage our youth to participate in 4-H, FFA and rodeo. These programs develop responsibility, dedication and the desire to do your very best.”

Open by appointment, the Holt Heritage Museum – located in Lolo, Montana – houses rodeo and Western artifacts including 20 horse-drawn vehicles and boots from famous celebrities.

Ramona Holt’s Her life has been dedicated to telling the story of the Western way of life through many avenues. Courtesy

For more information on Western Montana’s Glacier Country, visit GlacierMT.com.

Western Montana’s Glacier Country has several unique and off-the-beaten path attractions that often go under the radar. Here are three that shouldn’t be missed as you travel through the region.

The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

This public park, and breathtaking sight to see, is located in the middle of the Jocko Valley just north of Arlee, off of Montana Highway 93, on the Flathead Indian Reservation. One thousand hand-cast Buddha statues circle the central figure of Yum Chenmo (the Great Mother). Guided tours are available April through October, or self-guided daily from 9 a.m. to dusk. Admission is free.

The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas.

Miracle of America Museum and Pioneer Village

This museum houses a large collection of curiosities throughout several buildings. Items include a winged monkey from “The Wizard of Oz,” an alien autopsy and a two-headed calf. Make sure you allot enough time to see it all! Located in Polson on the south end of Flathead Lake. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $10; $5 children ages 2-12.

Miracle of America Museum and Pioneer Village

National Bison Range

Located off Montana Highway 200 is one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the nation. With more than 18,000 acres, the range is home to 350-500 head of bison, as well as black bear, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, elk and whitetail deer. The refuge is enjoyed from the comfort of your own vehicle during daylight hours on two different scenic drives. Be sure to bring along your binoculars for the best viewing opportunities. Admission: $5 for private vehicles; $25 for bus or tour groups.

National Bison Range.


For more information on Western Montana’s Glacier Country, visit GlacierMT.com.

Montana’s iconic destinations like Glacier National Park and its gateways to Yellowstone are certainly worth a visit, but when you want to travel off the beaten path and discover unique wide-open spaces, Montana has no shortage of options. After all, our state is all about discovering nature and breathtaking views, and getting outdoors to explore our hiking trails, waterways, and scenic roadways.

Seeley-Swan Scenic Drive

Take one of many scenic routes throughout Montana, taking time to enjoy the scenery and wildlife viewing at your own relaxed pace. The Seeley-Swan Scenic Drive south of Glacier Park on the way to Helena or Missoula takes you through two forested valleys surrounded by mountain peaks. It is dotted with small lakes and tiny towns. Stop at Holland Lake to paddle with a canoe on this peaceful hidden lake, or take a hike along the lake’s shore and through the forest to Holland Falls. This area sits next to the Bob Marshall Wilderness and is full of deer and elk, so take time to share their solitude. Numerous lakes along this route offer welcoming and peaceful picnic sites for travelers.

Hiking at Holland Lake. Courtesy Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Pioneer Scenic Byway

The Pioneer Scenic Byway is the perfect motorcycle route to discover scenic valleys, peaceful meadows and soaring mountain peaks, in an area that typically has few visitors. Along this route you will find hot springs, abandoned homesteads, small creeks and rivers where gold-seekers once panned for gold; and Coolidge, a ghost town you can explore on your own. Just south of this route is Bannack State Park, the best-preserved ghost town in Montana. Take a self-guided walking tour through Bannack or overnight in the teepee here. Numerous hiking trails and fishing holes are available in this area for independent-minded adventurers who want to get away from busier sites and enjoy Montana’s beautiful open spaces.

Log cabin at Coolidge Ghost town. Courtesy Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development

Missouri River Country

In Missouri River Country in Montana’s northeast corner, you’ll find plenty of room to explore. Fort Peck Lake is the largest lake in Montana, and with 1,600 miles of shoreline, you can surely find an out-of-the-way spot to relax and view wildlife, enjoy water recreation, or visit a nearby wildlife refuge or nature trail. History here goes back before the first Native Americans made their home here – back to the days of dinosaurs. Visitors today can experience the history of this region at many cultural sites, museums and historic towns. Take time to stargaze in this region’s spectacular night sky from just about any vantage point. We proudly consider ourselves to be in “the middle of nowhere,” yet the small towns here are welcoming and friendly.

Families explore Fort Peck Reservoir located near Fort Peck, Montana. Courtesy Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development


For more information on Montana, visit VisitMT.com.

River City Roots Festival

Held annually the last weekend in August, draws more than 15,000 individuals to the heart of Downtown Missoula for a variety of fun activities and exceptional music. This two-day FREE festival features first-class art and entertainment for both residents and visitors.

Credit: Glacier Country Tourism

Under the Big Sky Concert Music & Arts

The 2nd annual celebrations will be held July 18 – 19, 2020 in Whitefish with musical guests that include, Jason Isbell, Brothers Osborne and Emmylou Harris. This annual event celebrates the tradition of gathering friends and family together under open skies to listen to music. The festival explores the breadth and legacy of Americana, taking in both traditional and contemporary takes on our country’s rich musical traditions, across two stages in naturally formed amphitheaters on Big Mountain Ranch, Whitefish.

Credit: Glacier Country Tourism

North American Indian Days

North American Indian Days, an annual celebration held the second week in July over four days is the largest and most impressive of Blackfeet tribal events. The celebration hosts Native Americans from every region of the United States and Canada. Featured events include traditional drumming and dancing contests, the crowning of Miss Blackfeet, a parade, fun run, PRCA Rodeo events and more.

Credit: Glacier Country Tourism


For more information on Montana’s Western Glacier Country, visit GlacierMT.com.

Ski, dog sled, or take a horse-drawn sleigh ride in Glacier Country

In Western Montana, winter comes in wild and free, dropping an average of 300+ inches (7.6 meters) of light and fresh snow on the Rocky Mountains as it creates a place that can only be called one thing: a powder utopia.

For downhill ski and snowboard enthusiasts, there are more than 7,000 acres (2,832 hectares) of terrain across six ski resorts. Visit our world-class ski area, Whitefish Mountain Resortranked The Best in the West for Overall Satisfaction by Ski Magazine readers—offering access to six new runs across 200 new acres (80 hectares) of terrain. Additionally, Chair 5 has been relocated to the East Rim giving guests access to early and late season ski conditions found on the upper mountain.

For adrenaline-pumping winter fun off the mountain, Western Montana’s outfitters and guides offer exhilarating winter activities like snowmobiling, backcountry skiing in Glacier National Park, cat skiing and dog sledding. Montana’s Glacier Country is also home to plentiful cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Round out a winter day with a horse-drawn sleigh ride or a soak at one of our natural hot springs resorts.

Western Montana also has a variety of accommodations—ranging from cozy to luxe—and is easily accessible via international airports in Missoula (MSO) and Kalispell (FCA).

For more information, visit: GlacierMT.com

Photo: Noah Couser, courtesy of Glacier Country Tourism

Fall in Western Montana’s Glacier Country is one of the best times for international visitors to explore our iconic destination, Glacier National Park.

While the park is open year-round, the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road is open in its entirety from late June until mid-October weather permitting. The in-park concessioners offer guided tours including red bus tours, Sun Tours, boat tours, guided hikes and horseback riding.

Autumn is the perfect time to plan a visit and offers prime opportunities to view wildlife in and around Glacier National Park.


Contact
Western Montana’s Glacier Country
4852 Kendrick Place, Suite 101
Missoula, MT 59808 USA
406.532.3234
www.glaciermt.com