Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nothing That a Name Change Won't Cure

Stop the economy. Cap all carbon emissions immediately. Some of the glaciers in Glacier National Park are reportedly melting. It's just the latest in the seemingly endless list of crises blamed on global warming. And what the heck will tourists say when they show up at Glacier National Park and all the glaciers are gone?

Most will shrug, yawn and point their cameras at something else.

I've been to Glacier National Park. It's a wonderful place. It's a worthwhile visit, and stunning experience, with or without the glaciers, unless you are a true blue glaciophile and won't rest content until you've seen and photographed every remaining glacier in the lower 48. That's probably 2 percent of park visitors; the other 98 percent go there because they've already been to Yellowstone, or because their mother-in-law lives in Kalispell.

It's really more of a marketing problem than an ecological one, since the glaciers will eventually bounce back, once human beings have gone extinct (assuming the two are causally linked). The craggy landscape they carved is good to go for the next 10 million years, at least. Think in geologic terms for a second; that usually puts it all in perspective. It's nothing that can't be cured with a name change.

Why not rename it Vanishing Glaciers National Park? That might even boost visitation, by adding an element of urgency to the whole thing: "See the glaciers while you can; they won't be back for 150,000 years." That way, Washington can't be accused of false advertising. Lost Glaciers National Park also has a nice, slightly spooky ring to it. We might borrow a marketing ploy from the pop music world, by calling it The Place Formerly Known as Glacier National Park, though that's a little clunky-sounding, no question. I think we can all agree to take Puddles National Park off the list.

I know it's politically incorrect to make light of such matters, but really: If the planet is doomed, and teetering on the brink of complete catastrophe, as alarmists assert, the lack of glaciers at Glacier National Park is the least of our problems.

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