Glacier Park Photographer

Glacier Park Photographer
Saint Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island, Glacier National Park, Montana

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spring, Two Medicine Road, Glacier Volunteer Fire Department

Spring -
Wow, things are changing fast! I was out yesterday on a frozen lake and it's only a few days from becoming water. The ice is rotting and water is beginning to get murky, both a sign that spring is approaching. I also received a note that there are ducks showing up in good numbers across southern and central Montana. I have yet to see any up here in East Glacier, but it's just a matter of days.

Two Medicine Road -
The road up Two Medicine, while beginning to clear off wont be open to the lake, regardless of weather, until April 16 at the earliest, which for the locals is always an issue as there is a demand to get in there before that. The Glacier National Park people tell us that it's a budget, safety, and personnel issue so it wont open before April 16.

If you still are reading and you only want to know about photography and Glacier National Park, you can stop reading right here. The next several paragraphs deal with Glacier County and fire protection for East Glacier Park and the Two Medicine area. However, if you're interested in East Glacier Park and fire safety you may want to read on.

East Glacier Park Fire Protection -
The East Glacier Volunteer Fire Department budget is almost dry. I'm the training officer for the department and at our last meeting we found out that our budget is dry. What does that mean? It means we have no money left in our budget . . . Why, because Glacier County robbed us. We get $7,000 per year budget (yea that's right $7k PER YEAR) and this year, without adding funds to our budget, the County decided to withdraw from our measly "fuel-budget," payments for power and water. That would be fine if not for the fact that we never have had to pay for those bills in the past and therefore were not able to get more money to pay for the new costs . . . In other words we budget with the money we have which does not include these new costs, so now we are broke.

I believe Glacier Country is being very disingenuous to our department. Did I mention that we don’t have our own fire house? Did I tell you that we are forced to argue with the Glacier County about who gets to use the building and for what it should be used for; parking road graders or our fire trucks full of water? Did I tell you that it's not uncommon for people to access our building and stuff our turnouts - fire suits - with beer cans, switch around our helmets and boots, steal the fuel from our trucks and replace it with water, and steal equipment? Did you know that Glacier County seldom even plows our lot so we can get the trucks out in the event of a fire or other emergency? Or did I mention that over the last several years the county road department has broken-off 6 fire hydrants with their snow plows and they just last week told us that they would pay for materials if we - the volunteer firemen - provide the time and labor. . . ARE YOU KIDDING ME - WHAT?

We volunteer hundreds of hours of our time every year to train and respond to emergencies. We cover East Glacier Park, as well as the Glacier Park Lodge and ALL of the Glacier Park Incorporated Facilities (this includes the MILLIONS of dollars worth of Jammers), as well as the rest of the National Park Services buildings at Two Medicine and East Glacier. This is a huge area and a huge responsibility yet our County thinks that it can be done for 7000 bucks. . . Wow. . .

The reason I'm telling you all of this is because I love this town and I love this place, I pay my taxes, my child goes to school here, my friends live here and I and many others put our lives on the line to protect it and we are tired of fighting with our County over peanuts . . .  something about the whole thing just puts a sour taste in my mouth. . .

I'll be back later with more thoughts on photography. . . until them feel free to pass this rant along to those who you think might care about what’s going on here in East Glacier Park.

Sincerely,

Tony
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