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