Published: July 20,2017
This past weekend, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg toured Glacier National Park in Montana as part of his personal challenge to visit every state this year.
He toured parts of the park on a red jammer bus on Saturday and visited Gracie, a "bark ranger" border collie who helps herd wildlife away from people at popular sightseeing areas.
But it was what he didn’t do that has some scratching their heads.
Though Zuckerberg posted on his own Facebook account that “The impact of climate change is very clear at Glacier,” a scheduled meeting with the area’s top climate expert was canceled at the last minute.
Three days before the tech leader’s July 15 visit to the park, research ecologist Daniel Fagre was told that a scheduled tour with Zuckerberg of Logan Pass on the Continental Divide was off, the Washington Post reports.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg visited Glacier National Park last weekend but park officials canceled a planned meeting with the area’s top climate scientist.
(Screenshot courtesy of KTVQ)
(Screenshot courtesy of KTVQ)
“I literally was told I would no longer be participating,” said Fagre, who works for the U.S. Geological Survey.
He said he asked the public-affairs officer who notified him why the briefing was being canceled.
“I’ve gotten nothing back. We’ve definitely been left in the dark.”
Representatives from Facebook told the Post that Zuckerberg’s visit was set up by the park, and “they determined who would participate.”
Heather Swift, press secretary for the Interior Department, told Mic that Zuckerberg’s visit “came at the height of the busy season.”
“After reviewing the event proposal which was sent to the National Park Service, the NPS and Interior made a number of park officials available for the personal tour,” she said. “Allocating government funds, personnel, and resources responsibly is the definition of good government and something we are dedicated to advancing at the department.”
Fagre told the Post that park officials initially reached out to him when they knew that Zuckerberg said he wanted to learn more about the retreating glaciers.
(MORE: Glaciers in Montana's Glacier National Park Could Vanish in Our Lifetime)
“We were just going to be answering questions,” Fagre said. “There was no preset agenda.”
Despite not meeting with Fagre, Zuckerberg did make climate changes, in particular, the park’s retreating glaciers, a major part of the post he made following the visit:
“In the last hundred years, the average global temperature has risen 1.5 degrees. But in the high elevations of Montana where Glacier is the temperature is warming at 3x the global average -- enough to melt glaciers
Since the 1850s, the number of glaciers here has gone from 150 to 25. In a couple of decades, there may not be any glaciers left in the park at all. The people here have no idea what the effects will be when glacier water stops flowing into the ecosystem.
Thanks to all the rangers for all you do and for showing me around such an amazing place. We need to make sure parks like Glacier -- and the planet overall -- are around for future generations to enjoy.”
MORE: World Glaciers Then and Now
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