New "bark rangers" hit the trail at Glacier National Park
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK -
Glacier National Park visitors got to meet some hairy new rangers Wednesday with a passion for protection.
“This summer we are proud to premiere two new resource program within the park," said GNP spokesman Tim Rains Wednesday. "Both involving K-9’s, K-9’s have this amazing natural instinct and skills and we are using those amazing natural instincts and skills to enhance our programs within the park.
Glacier National Park has gone to the dogs. This summer, the park will start using working dogs to find aquatic transients, or mussels. They’ll also be working to keep tourists away from bears and bears away from tourists.
The phrase 'Hey, that mountain goat is really close' may become a thing of the past" -- and it’s all thanks to private donors, the Glacier National Park Conservancy and an open-minded park.
“I guess I would kind of characterize this as kind of a new application of what I would call an old technology," said Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. "As we come around and just think about how we can utilize something that’s been around a millennial.”
“This is a great opportunity to educate visitors on why it’s important to stay a safe distance away from the animals while still viewing them and getting a great experience at Glacier,” said Glacier Conservancy's Amy Dempster.
That’s how the idea of the Glacier National Bark Rangers got it’s start, but training was the next step.
Gracie the Mountain Goat Herding Border Collie got her training going, but her handler Mark Biel also needed a helping paw.
“They trained me up, so I guess I’m trainable," said "bark ranger" handler Mark Biel. "And so now we’re kind of working on the commands together and we’re fine tuning it in our backyard and around the neighborhood.”
Gracie will keep the goats off the trail, and hopefully the humans away from making their own mistakes, and good luck sneaking any Quagga or Zebra Mussels into Glacier with Tobias on watch.