Ian Tippet, longtime manager of Many Glacier Hotel, has retired from fulltime employment with Glacier Park, Inc. (GPI) after 45 years. Tippet plans to return to Glacier during the summer seasons, to run the GPI mail room, help with musical entertainment, and work in the gardens at East Glacier. "I've always been a worker," Tippet said in discussing these plans (an observation that can be verified by thousands of former GPI employees).
Tippet, a native of Devonshire, England, graduated from hotel school in London in 1951. While spending an internship in Chicago, he learned about Glacier Park and was hired as front office manager at Glacier Park Lodge. Tippet fell in love with Glacier and continued coming back to the Park each summer. He managed Lake McDonald Lodge for several years.
In 1961, the Glacier Hotel concession was sold by the Great Northern Railway to Don Hummel's GPI. GPI hired Tippet as its fulltime Director of Personnel, and as manager at Many Glacier Hotel.
From 1961 through 1983, Tippet managed Many Glacier. He developed a famous entertainment program, recruiting college music and drama students to perform. The hotel staged a weekly round of programs: the Monday Hootenanny, Wednesday Community Sing, Thursday Serenade, Friday Skit Night (through 1970), and Sunday Concert Night. A dining room chorus sang every evening, musicians practiced in linen closets, and even the bellmen sometimes greeted tours with a cacophonous song.
The showpiece of each summer's program was a Broadway musical which ran for a couple of weeks in early August. The first production, "Oklahoma"' in 1961, was a spartan affair with a few hay bales for props and stage lights improvised from tin cans. Later musicals, such as "Fiddler on the Roof" (1973) and "Kiss Me, Kate" (the last show, in 1983) involved elaborate staging and costuming, and dozens of actors and musicians.
In 1981, GPI was sold to the Greyhound Corporation (which has been transformed successively into the Dial Corporation and the present Viad Corporation). A change in company policy in 1984 required all fulltime GPI employees to be based at East Glacier during the summer season. At that point, Tippet ceased managing Many, and took up various executive duties from offices at Glacier Park Lodge. Most recently he has been Director of Facilities and Theater for GPI. In this capacity, he introduced cabaret theater performances at Many Glacier and at Glacier Park Lodge.
Tippet always has been known for generosity with his time and money. Many aspects of the Many Glacier musical programs over the years were paid for with his personal funds. In Phoenix (GPI's winter headquarters), Tippet has devoted Sundays for many years to serving meals to the needy through the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He has paid expenses for unemployed people to come to Glacier Park and take summer jobs with GPI.
Tippet hopes to travel extensively during his retirement. He plans to spend time working in the threeacre garden of his 400yearold cottage in Devonshire. He also hopes to write a book. But he anticipates returning each summer to Glacier and continuing to work in the hotels.
The National Park Service (NPS) has slowed its timetable for completing a new master plan for Glacier National Park. The NPS is assessing the response to the draft proposals released last summer, which drew heated opposition from the public. The draft proposals are being revised "to take public sentiments into account," according to a Park Service spokesman.
The three draft proposals released in July 1996 all called for removal of the Swiftcurrent visitor compound, and for removal of from three to seven automobile campgrounds. A survey showed huge majorities (often more than 90% of the public) opposed to closing these facilities. Vigorous opposition was voiced in public meetings, and in most of the roughly 2,000 letters which poured into Park Service headquarters at West Glacier.
The NPS timetable initially had called for releasing a final set of proposals (including a "preferred alternative") for comment this spring, and for issuing the final General Management Plan (GMP) this coming summer. However, this timetable has been set back, and more steps have been added to the Process.
Park Service Response to Public Comment
The Park Service clearly is making an effort to rebuild the public trust, and to give assurances that the comments received are being read and considered. Glacier Superintendent David Mihalic met in December with Friends of Glacier (a citizens' group based in Kalispell that was formed to work on the General Management Plan). Mihalic assured the crowd that "We heard you. We missed by a whole lot. We missed by a mile." (Hungry Horse News, 12/ 19/96; Daily Inter Lake, 12/17/96)
The Park Service planning team is sending individualized responses to many citizens who commented on the proposals. The comments themselves are being recorded in a computer bank so that they can be readily analyzed issue-by-issue. Glacier Park planning chief Jim Tilmant states that "We're working hard to make sure we've understood and are getting it right." (Hungry Horse News, 1/23/97)
The Park Service plans to issue a summary of the comments received on the draft proposals around the end of this winter. Subsequent steps in the planning process are expected to be as follows:
Reassessment of Plans for Swiftcurrent and Auto Campgrounds
Much of the harshest public comment on last summer's draft proposals focused on prospective closure of the Swiftcurrent compound and of various auto campgrounds. The NPS has given assurances that these closures were "only preliminary ideas" based on "alternative overall management concepts for dealing with failing infrastructure, increasing visitation, and wildlife conflicts."
Many GPF members have contacted members of Congress to urge that Swiftcurrent and the campgrounds not be closed. The Foundation has been supplied with numerous Congressional letters of inquiry and Park Service responses. (See Sidebar: "Park Service Correspondence With Congress")
Park Service letters to Congress consistently have stressed that the planning process still is at a relatively early stage, and that "all of the ideas presented to date are subject to revision." The Park Service argues that the public was mistaken to believe that closures had been decided upon. In letter after letter, the NPS stresses that "no decisions have been made" with regard to the closures at issue.
As a formal matter, the NPS is correct; the proposals released last summer were draft alternatives which were presented as subject to revision. But the fact remains that all three action alternatives called for the removal of Swiftcurrent and of auto campgrounds. The public certainly had reason to believe that the disputed actions were likely to occur.
The first stage of the planning process, while turbulent, has had positive results. Several thousand citizens have become actively involved in the planning process. The NPS has made a credible effort to show that it is committed to giving strong weight to public opinion. Several citizens' groups are committed to taking a very active role in helping to shape the planning process. Separate efforts being launched by the Glacier Park Foundation (GPF), Friends of Glacier, and the Glacier-Waterton Visitors Association will help ensure that park visitors have a well-informed, articulate voice in the future of the planning process. (See "GPF Launches Planning Task Force")
GPF hopes to interact frequently with the NPS planners during each remaining step of the process. Legitimate long-range management issues do exist in Glacier Park. The visiting public must take a more active and focused role in defining and helping resolve those management issues.
Hon. David Minge (DMN) to NPS Director Roger Kennedy:
"Several of my constituents have written me regarding their concern for a management plan that, in their view, fixes problems that do not exist. These are people who have spent a considerable amount of their lives enjoying Glacier and are concerned that the Park Service may be proceeding with its management plan in a manner that has effectively shut out their meaningful participation.
"They are concerned that the Park Service may shut down low cost camping facilities like the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and the Many Glacier Campground. This will effectively freeze out those who cannot afford to stay at the Many Glacier Hotel ($100 per night). This strikes me as an elitist attempt to make the Glacier Park experience available only to those who can afford it.
"As you know, the federal government is operating in a time of great budgetary pressure. The Park Service has been hit especially hard. I am concerned that the outcome of this management plan may require the Park Service to expend scarce resources on eminent domain compensation to concessionaires, as well as razing facilities and returning the area to its natural state. ..."
Superintendent David Mihalic to Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D MD)
"[A]ll of the ideas presented to date are subject to revision or rejection based on further assessment and analysis. No decision has been made to shut down the Swiftcurrent Valley facilities. During the GMP scoping process, the issue of wildlife contacts within that area was brought up. It is highly likely that the level of impact will be determined to be acceptable and that overnight use of the area will continue."
Superintendent Mihalic to Sen. Don Nickles (ROK):
"In brief summary, the Swiftcurrent facilities are located in a prime valley bottom wildlife area that would, in all likelihood, receive greater wildlife use if visitor activities did not occur there 24 hours a day. We are also at a juncture with these facilities where major improvements may have to be made, if they are to continue to be used. Therefore, it is only prudent that we examine all of the issues associated with the use of these facilities in a long range plan. Based on public interest we are considering a full range of options for providing this type of accomodation inside or near the Park."
The Glacier Park Foundation has established a task force to work on the current planning issues in Glacier National Park. The task force will research issues pertinent to the General Management Plan which is being developed by the Park Service. It will recommend positions for the Foundation to take on key issues such the management of traffic over Going-to-the-Sun Road.
The task force presently has seven members, led by GPF's Vice President, Einar Hanson (MGH 1977-80). Hanson and a second member, Mac Willemssen (SWC 1967-68, MGH 1969-70) both are attorneys in Minnesota. The other five members are Montanans. Linda Young Kuhn (MGH 1976-82, NPS 1983-86), a former Avalanche Campground ranger, is a professional cellist and homemaker in Helena. Her husband, Jeff Kuhn (MGH 1981-1982, NPS 1983-86), a former Belly River ranger, is a geologist employed by the State of Montana. Greg Notess (MGH 1980-83, GPL 1984, NPS 1985-87) is a librarian at Montana State University. Janet Cornish (LML 1973-76) is a community development consultant in Butte. Mark Hufstetler (LML 1978-1983) is a historian in Bozeman.
The task force requested extensive documentation from the National Park Service to assist it in its work. Park Service planners Mary Riddle and Jim Tilmant very helpfully have filled the document request. Major documents include the existing 1977 Master Plan, the 1993 Resource Management Plan, the 1994 Backcountry Management Plan, the 1996 Bear Management Plan, and the 1990 Transportation Plan.
The task force begins its work with a general outlook which has been approved by the Foundation's Board of Directors and is widely shared by its members. That outlook includes the following points:
The work of the task force will be shared through the pages of The Inside Trail. It will help all GPF members to form a more informed view of the planning issues.
Editor's Note: Ray Kinley worked at Many Glacier Hotel from 1922 to 1977. Ray was an avid Glacier Park Foundation member, a famous storyteller and Park historian. GPF tape recorded Ray's memories of Glacier before his death in 1985.
For many years in the 1920's, Sid Couch was the transportation agent at Many Glacier, and Fritzy Schade was the head bellman. They used to play running games of chess which might go on for days and days.
Sid and Fritzy played these games of chess in the St. Moritz Room (which in those days was full of bamboo and Japanese parasols, and was known as the Bamboo Room). They kept a table in a corner of the room beside the fireplace, with an old iron lampstand beside it. The chess board was left set up on this table.
When they were on duty, Sid and Fritzy would wait for a lull and then dash down the Circular Staircase to the Bamboo Room. They would study the board together, make a couple of moves, and then dash back upstairs to meet incoming buses. At this rate, of course, the games dragged on and on.
In his own job as night clerk, Ray would while away the idle hours reading old copies of the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune ran a daily column on chess, with diagrams showing sample games.
One evening, Ray noticed a sample endgame in which one of the players was stymied. The pieces were so arranged that the player could not make any move at all without exposing his king to check.
This column prompted Ray's notorious instinct for playing practical jokes. He promptly went to the Bamboo Room and rearranged the gameinprogress to mimic the sample game in the column. First, however, he made a record of where the pieces had been in the real game (Ray knew nothing about chess, but drew the pieces on gift shop price stickers, which he stuck on another chess board).
Next day, at the midmorning lull, Ray concealed himself in a cloakroom near the table. Soon Sid and Fritzy arrived from the lobby. Sid said, "It's your move."
Fritzy pondered the board for a couple of minutes. His face grew increasingly dour. "Say, have you been moving these pieces around?" he demanded sharply of Sid.
"No, I haven't!" Sid said, with an injured expression.
"Well, I'm stymied!" Fritzy grumbled. "I don't believe I can move at all!"
For another minute or so, the two youths studied the board together, trying to figure out how this situation had developed without their realizing it the day before. Then a voice from the lobby shouted, "Tour's in!" They dashed off together up the stairs.
Ray promptly came out of hiding, using his pricesticker diagram to rearrange the pieces as they had been. [As a sidelight, when telling this story again, parading his ignorance of chess Ray would say, "I took the bishops and the crooks, or whatever they are, and put them back on their original squares and colors."]
A few minutes later, Sid and Fritzy came back down stairs to analyze the stalemate. They were stupefied to find that Fritzy had numerous moves available which they hadn't noticed before. Said Ray, "They kind of caught on that something screwy was going on; that somebody was doing it, don't you know. But I never let on that it was me"
Note. This is a letter written by Vera Daly, seamstress at Many Glacier from 1960-1976, to Mr. and Mrs. Wendell Chittim, long-time visitors to Many Glacier Hotel.
Once upon a time there was this big Chalet called Many Glacier, tucked way in that beautiful wilderness at the foot of the majestic, spectacular American Alps, mirrored in Swiftcurrent Lake. What brought so many Chosen Young People to This Place, the "Show Place of the Rockies"? It has a legend of truth. There Is No Place, Just Like This Place, Anywhere Near This Place, So This Must Be The Place.
Before the cool year 2000 when so many old-style doings still prevailed, like dialing telephones, using gas for cars, making solo trips to the moon, hippies, rock music, divided party elections and many more, the magnetic current of Romance and Talent drew many Fine Young People out there every summer. Is it superstition that wherever pretty girls and handsome fellows get together, helping each other, strolling in the warm evenings, hiking on the trails, swimming on the beach, that cupid always finds "The Place?" He is a pretty good marksman for The Romance Department. His favorite music of course is played on Wedding Bells. All of these Young People whether they were Romantic or not had Talent.
In that long-ago, talent was singing, dancing, designing, playing musical instruments, working on the entertainments, coordinating in many things, many ways. Their working hours kept them busy performing their duties so well. As we look over that distant Place in the crystal ball of snowflakes, we see so many lovely views, reunions, weddings of those Young People who met up there in that Land of Romance they all loved so well.
Now it is all a Dream: The Star Spangled Banner being lowered to the sound of Taps; jammers driving the busses in; bellmen hurrying out to greet the guests; fire drills; happy get-togethers in the cafeteria; music everywhere; the busy linen room; the chorus and orchestra giving concerts enjoyed by everyone; the call for the staff photo; the big launch taking off for Lake Josephine. Could it all have been real?
The climb to South America [the name of a snowdrift on the side of Altyn Peak]; hiking everywhere; horseback riding; trips to Lake McDonald, Waterton, Banff, Lake Louise, the Calgary Stampede, all bring back pleasant memories. The July 4th entertainment put on by the Dining Room staff, and the nightly performance of the their chorus; the merry dancing in the St. Moritz Room and the get-togethers in the grill. Softly now the Hootenanny is singing, the fireplace crackling with its warm glow; the pleasant Community Sing-A-Long in the lobby; the excellent performances of "A Fiddler On The Roof." I hear Christmas carols oh, yes, it was the party in front of the gift shop which was a busy, interesting place.
The old game of dunking in the lake was played often by fellows dropping the girls in, then taking off and letting the girls get out alone; the balconies not replaced that were broken down with the winter's snow; Ray's birthday party in the cafeteria.
Lake shadows I see a long line of people going by I wonder who they are. Oh, yes! The 1973 parade of former Many Glacier employees coming back for a visit hoping it would help cure an attack of "glacieritis."
Softly falling snowflakes are hiding my view and faintly. I see the numbers, 1973, disappearing in the distance. Looking past that big snow drift, on the front door of the Chalet is the word "CLOSED," but below it on a frosty card, by the dim light of the sunset I see Will Open June 15, 1974. Romance and Talent will then begin another season: Swiftcurrent and the campgrounds coming back to life; the launch and boats in the sparkling water; horses up in the corral waiting for riders; the sheep coming down in their winter coats; the Salamander snow formation, shining brightly, South America at its best, the tumbling falls drawing visitors; the shutters all down; the flower boxes being put in place; the food truck's coming in; all those employees arriving and happily filling up the dorms... The Chalet awakens again and becomes the friendly, welcoming, entertaining Many Glacier Hotel.
Mr. Tippet's office opens, and the staff is ready to set up for another good season with tours and guests from Everywhere. I hear a voice, but it sounds so far away ... now closer ... closer ... It is coming over the loud speaker, "The Ranger talk will be at 8:30 in the Lucerne Room followed by dancing until midnight in the St. Moritz Room to the music of the combo...." It's fading ... fading ... fading away ... now a distant echo, and the end of A Midwinter's dream.
Editorts Note: Bob Horodyski, a paleontologist, was an annual visitor in the Swiftcurrent Valley for decades. Until his recent untimely death, he climbed extensively and wrote many scientific monographs on Glacier. He also contributed the following famous tale to Glacier's lore.
One summer evening, Bob Horodyski arrived at Glacier too late to find an open campsite in the park. He therefore pitched his tent at a private campground on St. Mary Ridge.
In another tent in the campground, there slept a nervous man who was new to Glacier but well aware of the presence of bears. In the dead of a moonless night, this man felt a call of nature and stumbled off to the outdoor privy in the campground.
While in the outhouse, the man heard the sound of heavy footfalls passing outside. With a pounding heart, he looked out through the cracks in the door and saw a large black shape stomping past a couple of yards away.
The man was afraid to come out of the outhouse, and remained there until dawn. Dressed only in underwear, he soon began to shiver with the cold. Resourcefully, he took the rolls of toilet paper and wrapped himself from head to toe in many layers of tissue in an effort to stay warm.
At first light, the man peeped out of the outhouse. Finding no bears at hand, he crept forth and excitedly went for help, still wearing his unconventional costume.
Seconds later, Bob Horodyski awoke to the sound of gruesome yelling at the doorway of his tent. Looking out, he recoiled at the sight of what appeared to be an Egyptian mummy, thickly wrapped in pallid bandages, hulking over him in the dawn. "There's a bear out here!" the mummy was shouting.
Fully awake, Bob scrambled out of the tent and followed the apparition. "Where did you see the bear?" he asked.
"Right in front of the outhouse!" said the mummy. "A grizzly bear as big as a truck!"
Bob examined the soft earth in front of the outhouse and discovered a set of hoofprints. The ''bear'' was a Shetland pony belonging to the campground owners, which stood inoffensively grazing in the shadows.
One day in the summer of 1975, a little old Southern lady walked into the lobby at Many Glacier Hotel. "How do I get up high?" she asked Mike Anton, a bellman on duty at the desk. With her camera, she indicated that whe was seeking a good spot to take pictures. Mike pointed up the staircase, saying "Climb two flights of stairs and walk along the balcony."
Now, the little old lady was very Southern indeed, and her question, phonetically rendered, was "How do Ah git a pie?" Chip Smith, a second bellman on duty, overheard the exchange and thought that the lady wanted to go to the snack counter. Chip thought that Mike was deliberately sending a feeble old person out of her way as an unseemly practical joke. "WHAT?! Who do you think you are?!" he cried in an outraged tone, to the astonishment of Mike and of the lady.