Vegetation - Piegan Glacier

Science Center Objects

These photographs document another aspect of Glacier Park’s dynamic environment, vegetation change. Although Piegan Glacier has not melted noticeably, years of fire suppression and changing climate may have allowed the invasion of conifers in what was an open meadow in the foreground of the 1930 photo. Also, the demise of the ecologically important whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis ) is visually underscored in this pair of photos. Notice how the rounded profile of the tallest trees (whitebark pine) in back of the meadow have been replaced by the spikey- topped sub-alpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) in the 1998 photo. Dramatic declines of whitebark pine are cause primarily by white pine blister rust and fire exclusion.

Please respect the photographer: When using these photographs, please credit the photographer and source (eg. T.J. Hileman, courtesy of Glacier National Park Archives). The paired images at the top of this page are examples of proper crediting for each photo. Please contact for high resolution versions of images below.


Piegan Glacier animation.
Piegan Glacier circa 1930.
Piegan Glacier circa 1930.Public domain
Piegan Glacier 2009.
Piegan Glacier 2009.Public domain