Glacier National Park Quarter

Highlighting one of America’s crown jewels, the seventh coin to be issued in the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program is the 2011 Glacier National Park Quarter, featuring Montana’s Glacier National Park.

2011 Glacier National Park Quarter (US Mint image)

Glacier National Park Quarter - Click to Enlarge

The coin is scheduled to enter circulation on April 4, 2011 through the Federal Reserve Banks. On that same day, the US Mint plans to also offer the coins in 100-coin bags or two-roll sets which will be sold directly to the public. The 100-coin bags will feature the buyer’s choice of strikes from the US Mint’s facility in Denver or the US Mint’s facility in Philadelphia. The two-roll set will contain one roll from each facility.

Final design selection for the Glacier National Park of Montana coin was decided upon by Secretary of the Treasury from three design candidates presented by the US Mint. The decision was based upon recommendations by the Mint Director as well as comments from other groups and individuals.

The design chosen for the reverse of the Glacier Coin depicts a mountain goat perching on the rugged terrain found throughout the park with majestic Mount Reynolds shown off in the distance. The reverse was designed by AIP Associate Designer Barbara Fox and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles Vickers.

Glacier National Park Quarter Design MT-01

2011 Glacier National Park Quarter Design MT-01 (Click to Enlarge)

Glacier National Park Quarter Design MT-02

2011 Glacier National Park Quarter Design MT-02 (Click to Enlarge)

Glacier National Park Quarter Design MT-03

2011 Glacier National Park Quarter Design MT-03 (Click to Enlarge)

Three design candidates for the America the Beautiful Quarter, shown above, were judged by the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) in January 2010. Both organizations are responsible for recommending coinage designs to the Secretary of the Treasury, who is ultimately responsible for selecting the final designs for America the Beautiful Quarters.

The CCAC and CFA preferred and chose design MT-03 depicting the Rocky Mountain Goat. It was this design, in fact, that was selected by the Treasury Secretary for the actual reverse design of the Glacier National Park Quarter.

The CFA provided the following reason for the selection.

    "The Commission recommended alternative #3, commenting that the Rocky Mountain goat is emblematic of the park and provides a desirable foreground feature that gives scale to the sweeping vista of the glaciated landscape."

In addition to this quarter dollar, the US Mint will also be issuing a five ounce bullion coin containing this same design – the Glacier America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin.

Additional 2011 America the Beautiful Quarter releases for the year include:

Glacier National Park in Montana

Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park in Montana (NPS Photo)

Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park in Montana (NPS Photo) - Click to Enlarge

Spectacular scenery fills over a million acres of Glacier National Park nestled in the Rocky Mountains of northwest Montana. Thousands of years ago, huge glaciers filled the valleys with ice, and as they melted, they carved out the majestic mountains seen today. Now, only a few glaciers are left and still actively shrinking.

During the early American West, European explorers and trappers found their way to the area. By then, it was home to Blackfeet, Salish, and Kootenai Indians. In 1891, the Great Northern Railway cut a path through the pristine forest to build a railroad and great lodges for visitors. Some Indians could be found at the lodges dancing and entertaining guests.

Early conservationists who visited the glaciers in the 1890s were impressed with the beauty and began asking for congressional help to preserve the area. The first success came as the inclusion of the glacier region in the Lewis and Clark Forest Reserve, in 1897. A few years later, a descriptive essay titled, "The Crown of the Continent," by a well known conservationist of the time, George Bird Grinnell, further publicized the area. In 1910, President Taft signed the bill establishing the region as Glacier National Park.

The glacier region extends beyond the US and Canadian border. On the Canadian side, it is called Waterton Lakes National Park. In 1932, the two parks were united as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The two parks have also been declared Biosphere Reserves and a World Heritage Site.

Today, two million people visit the park each year. The park remains open year round, but some visitor facilities close for the winter season. All facilities are generally open from May through September.

Entrance fees vary based on length of stay, time of year, and method of entrance – like traveling on foot or by vehicle. The park boasts over 700 miles of trails for hiking, and for vehicles, one of the best known roads is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It spans 50 miles through the heart of the park, following the shores of the two largest lakes in the park, and winds around mountainsides.

Since weather in mountains can produce a variety of weather conditions, the park advises visitors to dress in layers. In the summer, the valley temperatures can exceed 90 degrees F, and 10 to 15 degrees cooler at higher elevations. Overnight lows can drop near 20 degrees, and it may snow anytime, especially above the tree line.

Lake McDonald, the largest lake in the park, is 10 miles long and 472 feet deep.