MISSOULA, Mont. — I'm at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Missoula this week, and the first day featured a trip up to Glacier National Park, which stands to suffer dramatically from the effects of climate change.
National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis gave us a peek into the future of national parks in the face of climate change:
As the glaciers disappear rom Glacier National Park within the next 20 years, the Joshua trees die, the giant sequoias tumble to the ground, Great Basin's bristlecones wither and die with the bark beetle and the Saguaro cacti rot in the Arizona sun, the national parks created to protect those species could themselves be threatened. But, maybe not, Jarvis said, if we use those species' passing as a learning opportunity about climate change.
Some other interesting tidbits from the trip:
• Javelinas aren't native to the Grand Canyon. Thank climate change for that. (Climate change=species migration or complete destruction.)
• Just like in Colorado, bark beetles are proliferating through Montana forests, too, because winter temperatures aren't dropping below -20 or -30 for more than a week at a time.
• The enabling legislation for Glacier National Park allows the Army Corps of Engineers to build dams within the park. Park officials are concerned that as the glaciers melt and climate change roars on, there may be a push to build new reservoirs in the park because more water storage will be necessary.
See all my Glacier photos from this trip and my 2008 trip here.