KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) – Glacier National Park Director Jeff Mow is retiring from the National Park Service at the end of the year.
Mow worked for the agency for 33 years, the last eight at Glacier National Park in northern Montana, as the park faced destructive wildfires, rebuilding the historic Sperry Cabin that was destroyed by fire in 2017, a record number of visits and a pandemic. This summer, for the first time, Glacier Park adopted a ticketed entry system to limit traffic on the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Highway.
âI would say he had the most complicated tenure of any Glacier superintendent, and he did it with a lot of respect, kindness and grace,â said Michael Jamison, of the National Parks Conservation Association, at the Flathead Beacon. âIt took a certain type of person, honestly, especially in a park so intimately linked to its local communities and tribes. Jeff took this very seriously, and it is reflected in the depth of relationships he has developed.
In April, Mow took on a temporary position to oversee the Alaska Region of the National Park Service, a move that saw him see Glacier in good hands when he retires.
âThere was something about walking away over the last six months and just watching that gave me a lot of confidence. I’m so happy with the way the staff accomplished our mission, âMow said. âI think what every superintendent dreams of is having a staff that works fairly transparently in their absence, and I definitely have a dream team.â
During Mow’s tenure, he deepened the park’s relationship with the Blackfeet Nation, working with tribal chiefs on a new program to bring bison back to their native landscape and closing the park’s eastern entrances so the tribe can protect its members from park visitors during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
âThe Blackfeet Tribe takes this opportunity to thank Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow for his years of service to the park and for the wonderful working relationship he has established with the Blackfeet Tribe,â said James McNeely , a spokesperson for the tribe. âTogether, the two entities have worked in the best interests of all. “
Mow, who lives in Whitefish with his wife Amy, said he is retiring to spend more time with his 98-year-old father, to be free to visit his son who is moving overseas and to enjoy the region.
âIf there’s a mark of my time at Glacier, I hope it’s to instill some kind of thinking about what’s possible when you have strong relationships and partnerships with local communities, agencies and organizations. tribes, âMow said. âBecause everything I have been able to accomplish would not have been possible without them. “
As Glacier’s superintendent, Mow oversaw 1,562 square miles (4,045 square kilometers) of wilderness, a staff of around 155 with an operating budget of over $ 14 million.
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