By Robert Lucke
For folks who miss seeing Mount Wilbur and the Many Glacier Valley for long periods during the winter, the Internet offers a key to viewing that area all year long.
Glacier National Park has several WebCams located throughout the park that offer live views continually.
Not only are these great for the person who wants to visit the park but can't, but they offer instant weather conditions on both sides of the mountains for the traveler.
One WebCam is beamed across Lake McDonald at Mount Brown, Mount Cannon and the Garden Wall. Another is located in a window of Park Headquarters and is trained on the Belton Hills. Still another is a live shot of the interior of the Apgar Visitor Center, and the newest is of Swiftcurrent Lake and Mount Wilbur in the upper Many Glacier Valley.
Glacier's chief ranger, Steve Frye, hopes that the park will soon have at least a couple more WebCams in operation. Their plans include one at the Apgar Lookout and still another in the St. Mary's Valley. Frye said that the only limiting factor in having still more WebCams throughout the park is the availability of adequate phone lines for WebCams to network with.
"We started with one WebCam at Park Headquarters and quickly came to the realization that the WebCams provided a much greater benefit to a greater audience than we had anticipated," Frye said.
Frye added that park personnel are still learning about the technology behind the WebCams and as they learn more, they will be adding more of them to the Glacier Web site.
Frye thinks the WebCams do a lot to bring more people into Glacier.
"Think about a visitor in New York, for instance," he said. "How can we begin to describe Glacier over the phone? But now he can see it live from his own living room. It is great."
Those live pictures show visitors from all over that Glacier National Park is a refuge from the cares and worries of modern life, and Frye thinks that particularly since the events of Sept. 11, more and more people are turning to places like Glacier to refresh and recharge.
It's very easy to touch base with Glacier's WebCams. Just aim your search engines at "What's new in Glacier National Park" and be prepared to get up close and personal with Glacier in a hurry. Sunrises over Lake McDonald and sunsets over Mount Wilbur unbelievable!
The Web site is located at www.nps/gov/glac/whatsnew/cam4_manyglacier.htm.