Apr 3, 2012 9:40 PM by Katy Harris (KAJ News)
WEST GLACIER- Population growth and development has skyrocketed around national parks but, not near Glacier National Park, which has been able to stay as one of the last best places.
A Montana State University study shows that Glacier National Park is one of the most pristine and untouched parks in the nation.
Sally Thompson has been living in West Glacier since 1970 and is the co-owner of the Glacier Outdoor Center and Glacier Raft Company. She said the residents in the area are on a mission to protect the park and keep it wild.
"We have a canyon plan that was self imposed many years ago and I think that has helped with the growth," she said.
Since 1940 the population around Glacier National Park has grown just over 200% but when you compare that to other national parks like the Mojave National Preserve in California, that parks population has grown over 3000%.
"I think the study shows that people tend to develop or move to live by units of the national park service," said GNP Public Affairs Specialist, Denise Germann.
Housing around the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California has grown over 75% but housing around Glacier National Park has only grown over 13% because half the land around Glacier is private and 75% of that is undeveloped.
"It is really a precious resource and we are dealt with taking care of it," said Germann.
The MSU study found that 75 percent of the private land around Glacier National Park remains undeveloped.