A visitor to Glacier National Park is in trouble with officials this week after he shot his firearm within the park premises last weekend. The man, who has not been named, was hiking on Mount Siyeh with his 21-year-old son on Sunday when a boulder dislodged. According to the National Park Service, the pair managed to avoid the falling rock, but the younger hiker took a glancing blow and fell 200 feet. Unable to reach his son or contact authorities, the man pulled out a firearm and fired a single shot into a solid backstop, alerting nearby hikers who contacted park officials.

Unfortunately for the father, federal law prohibits the discharge of a firearm within a national park. This law stands despite that fact that a 2010 change in policy allowed guns into national parks and wildlife refuges depending on state regulations. The father was warned about the law, although the park has not specified if it will pursue further penalties. Another incident occurred in July when a visitor shot at a bear he claimed was behaving aggressively. The Missoulian reports that in that incident, the shooter was also issued a warning and is now under investigation.

Luckily for this dad, the gunshot resulted in the aid he required. A passing hiker helped the two down the rest of the way from Mount Siyeh and they were met by park employees near Piegan Pass Trail. The father and son were then airlifted to a nearby hospital. Park officials warn that falling rocks can be very dangerous in Glacier, and that hikers should always been well-equipped and prepared before going out.

“The boulder was estimated to weigh 200 lb. by the father,” officials stated in a press release. “Falling boulders can pose a serious safety hazard, especially off trail in the higher elevations. Glacier’s rock is predominantly sedimentary. Sedimentary rock can fragment easily causing rock slides. We encourage climbers to wear helmets and avoid climbing directly below one another.”

Image courtesy Glacier National Park

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  • conservative

    The father did the right thing. If the park pursues this they are real jerks.

  • Northerner

    i agree, the father did the best thing he could and if officials fine him they should have their jobs taken away for stupidity!
    its one thing if he just did some random shooting but in a survival situation its anything goes and he should not be held accountable for that!

  • Gigs

    The park just issued a warning because that’s the rules that are on the book. The rules are what’s wrong, not the park. The park did the minimum they had to do to keep themselves out of trouble with their own higher ups, it looks like.

  • Stephen Samuel

    If it was illegal to have a gun in the park, then it was illegal to have one. If it saved his life to fire it, then it should be worth any fine that he pays. That should be a reasonable test for whether or not it’s a good idea to fire a gun.
    If he wanted something to get help, he would have been better off with a flare gun — which would have probably been legal AND would have probably made his location more apparent.