Ice Patch Partners

The Glacier National Park Ice Patch Project shows how academics, tribes, and federal agencies can work together to accomplish mutually beneficial goals. Our team includes members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, the Blackfeet Nation, the University of Wyoming, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of Arizona as well as Glacier National Park’s cultural resources program and the Rocky Mountains Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU). The project—an intersection of climate science, archaeology, and culture—has resulted in innumerable positive outcomes, not only for our partners, but also the communities affected by the research.

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The Ice Patch team has been a great model for collaborative project planning and execution. Glacier National Park intends to continue to work closely with team members on future cultural resources activities under the newly-formed Glacier Cultural Resources Management Group.
Agency Partners

Known to Native Americans as the "Shining Mountains" and the "Backbone of the World", Glacier National Park preserves more than a million acres of forests, alpine meadows, lakes, rugged peaks and glacial-carved valleys in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Its diverse habitats are home to nearly 70 species of mammals including the grizzly bear, wolverine, gray wolf and lynx. Over 270 species of birds visit or reside in the park, including such varied species as harlequin ducks, dippers and golden eagles. The landscape is a hiker's paradise that is traversed by more than 740 miles of maintained trails. Glacier Park's varied climate influences and its location at the headwaters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Hudson Bay drainages have given rise to an incredible variety of plants and animals.

The Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) Network is a national consortium of federal agencies, tribes, academic institutions, state and local governments, nongovernmental conservation organizations, and other partners working together to support informed public trust resource stewardship. The CESU Network includes 331 partners, including 14 federal agencies, in seventeen CESUs representing biogeographic regions encompassing all 50 states and U.S. territories. The CESU Network is well positioned as a platform to support research, technical assistance, education and capacity building that is responsive to long-standing and contemporary science and resource management priorities.

The Climate Change Response Program is a cross-disciplinary program that provides guidance, training, technical expertise, project funding, and educational products that support our actions to preserve the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park Service. The American people created the National Park Service to care for our truly exceptional landscapes and historic treasures, enshrine our nation's enduring principles, and remind us of the tremendous sacrifices Americans have made on behalf of those principles. Our charge is to preserve our natural and cultural heritage unimpaired so visitors may always experience the chirps of pika high on the alpine tundra, the view of the stately saguaro cactus, or the plunging of glacial ice. The NPS response to climate change is coordinated around four areas of emphasis:
  • Using Science to help parks manage climate change
  • Adapting to an uncertain future
  • Mitigating or reducing our carbon footprint
  • Communicating to the public and our employees about climate change
Tribal Partners
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are comprised of the Bitterroot Salish, the Pend d’Oreille and the Kootenai tribes. The Flathead Reservation of 1.317 million acres in northwest Montana is our home now, but our ancestors lived in the territory now known as western Montana, parts of Idaho, British Columbia and Wyoming. This aboriginal territory exceeded 20 million acres at the time of the 1855 Hellgate Treaty. The spirit and direction of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation is founded upon and reflected in its cultural heritage. The protection of our irreplaceable cultural resources is essential for sustaining the cultural foundation of the tribes.
There are three branches of the Blackfeet peoples-the Northern Blackfeet (Siksika), the Blood and the Piegan or Pikuni. Our traditional homeland ranged from the Yellowstone River in southern Montana, to the Saskatchewan River in northern Alberta Canada, and from the slopes of the Rocky Mountains to the Sacred Sweet Grass Hills. In 1895, the boundaries of the Amskapi Pikuni people were drastically reduced to what is presently known today as the Blackfeet Nation. The Blackfeet Reservation, headquartered in Browning, encompasses approximately 1.5 million acres. The Blackfeet people have songs, origin stories, sacred teepees that all come from the Rocky Mountains. Climate change has affected our landscape and our valuable and irreplaceable resources.
Academic Partners
As Wyoming’s only four-year institution, the University of Wyoming provides quality undergraduate and graduate programs to 13,800 students from all 50 states and 94 countries. Established in 1886, UW is a nationally recognized research institution with accomplished faculty and world-class facilities that offer study in over 200 areas. It is home to the NCAR Supercomputing Center, the new School of Energy Research, the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center, and the NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence. The university also maintains a research station in Grant Teton National Park and is a center of water research.
The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado – Boulder has been hosting projects dedicated to the identification and discovery of alpine snow and ice patches with archeological and paleobiological material since 2001. INSTAAR’s research activities integrate field studies, state-of- the-art laboratory experiments, sample analysis, and numerical and laboratory modeling with field sites located across all seven continents and the world's oceans. The Institute and has a long tradition of interdisciplinary research and education, and an impressive array of experts are available for consultation specializing in various aspects of ecosystems research, geophysics and global change.
The University of Arizona (UA) is a land-grant, Research One public university. Founded in 1885, the institution is currently supports more than 35,000 graduate and undergraduate students representing 120 countries. The UA is home to top-ranked colleges, schools, departments, and interdisciplinary programs such as Science, Aerospace, and Optics, School of Anthropology and its Bureau of Applied Research (BARA), Program for Sustainable Planning in Arid Regions, Department of Hydrology and Water Management, Eller School of Management’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, Biosphere II, and the unique, world-renowned Laboratory of Tree-ring Research. In addition to the library system, with its five million holdings and collections of rare books and photographs, the UA maintains the largest mineral database in the world.
Media Partner
SKC Media Center
The Salish Kootenai College Media Center has worked with the other partners in this project to document many aspects of the endeavor with photographs and video. SKC Media is in its 31st year of providing services to the institution, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and many others. The production unit has won numerous national and international awards. KSKC Public TV is a free digital over-the-air station serving the Flathead Reservation and beyond since 1988 with local, cultural, and public television programs on three streams. Two staff have accumulated over 75 years experience in media and broadcast.