Glacier Park grows by 120 acres

Daily Inter Lake

by Jim Mann

A 120-acre inholding that was homesteaded by one of Glacier National Park’s first rangers has been acquired by the park through the Trust for Public Lands.

The land originally settled by Dan Doody, one of the first rangers appointed when the park was established in 1910, was the second-largest tract of private property within the park’s boundaries.

The land is located along the Middle Fork Flathead River near Harrison Lake.

The property is a popular stop along the river due to its history and the recreational access it provides.

The Trust for Public Land bought the property for $900,000 and sold it to the National Park Service for the same price. The funding came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is supported by oil and gas royalties from federal leases rather than tax dollars.

“This is a classic win-win. It protects the Middle Fork of the Flathead for all people who enjoy it, and it also protects a part of the park’s more colorful history,” said Alex Diekmann, project manager for the trust.

Glacier Superintendent Chas Cartwright praised the partnership, which included work with the National Park Trust, that made the transaction came about.

“Through this partnership, we have successfully retained the property that is an integral part of a wildlife migration corridor linking protected lands of Glacier National Park and the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.”

Dan Doody was a prospector, outfitter and park ranger, a job from which he eventually was fired for excessive poaching of park wildlife.

After he died in 1921, his wife, Josephine, lived in their two-story hunting lodge. She was a moonshiner whose products were so popular that passing trains on the Great Northern Railway would stop and blow their whistles to signal the number of quarts the engineers wanted delivered. She lived on the property until 1931.

Many community leaders, businesses and groups supported the acquisition.

“One of the great privileges of providing rafting trips on the Middle of the Flathead is being able to educate our guests about Glacier and to share the historic significance of early settlers of the area,” said Sally Thompson, co-owner of the Glacier Raft Co. “The legends of the Doodys, both Dan and Josephine, have provided many good tales of lore for us to share with our rafting guests as we float past their former homestead property.”

Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, backers of the Land and Water Trust Fund, also had high praise for the acquisition.

“This transaction makes one of Montana’s most treasured places whole by securing better access to public land and water,” Tester said.