Friday, July 19, 2013

The Great Northern/Panama Connection

By:  Cassandra Sunell

John F. Stevens, Explorer of Marias Pass
It may not seem like the connection between the Panama Canal and Glacier National Park would overlap or play a large role, however, the same ingenuity that would be used to create a passageway through the country of Panama was the same used to build a railway through one of the most challenging passes over the Continental Divide—eventually becoming the gateway to Glacier National Park.  John Frank Stevens, an explorer and engineer, was both the chief engineer for one of the Seven Wonders, the Panama Canal and also discovered the passageway through one of the most notably difficult routes through the Rocky Mountains, Marias Pass.

Nearly a century since the completion of the canal and after my ancestors worked for the Panama Canal building the foundation for my family’s homestead in Panama City, I now work marketing the fruits of John Steven’s work as a social media and marketing coordinator for Glacier Park Inc.  I have lived nearly my entire life in the Flathead Valley, but not until my recent Red Bus Tour did I find out that John Stevens was both the engineer for the Great Northern Railway and the Panama Canal

Enjoying the views of Glacier Park
John Stevens was born in Maine in 1853, and after he finished schooling he spent 15 years working his way from City Engineer’s Office, to surveying and building railroads, and gaining experience as a self-taught engineer.  Stevens became a principal assistant engineer for the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway in 1886 and was then hired on by James J. Hill as a locating engineer for the Great Northern Railway, and was placed in charge of the Rocky Mountain reconnaissance in 1889 where he discovered Marias Pass. 

The history of discovering Marias Pass had stretched over decades before Mr. Stevens would be able to find this unsearchable passageway across the Continental Divide.  After the territory of Washington was created, a railway survey crew was sent to explore the Northern zone, connecting the headwaters of the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean.  A team led by Major Isaac Stevens to find the best route to the Pacific through the mountains in 1853, ended one year later after funds for the project were discontinued and Marias Pass would be placed on hold for the next thirty years.  That would be until John Frank Stevens would almost single-handedly discover the elusive Marias Pass in the winter of 1889. 

Stevens set out to the summit with a team of mules, snow-shoes, and a local Flathead Native Indian guide.  In the midst of the exploration, Stevens was forced to abandon the mules and eventually his local guide in camps in order to proceed to the summit.  On December 11, 1889, Stevens made a reconnaissance through Marias Pass.  This night Stevens was forced to tramp through the deep snow all night in order to survive the 40-degree below temperature. 

In the first annual report to Great Northern stockholders in the summer of 1890, Hill announced that “An extremely favorable pass over the main range of the Rocky Mountains has been found for this line, permitting a maximum grade, on the eastern approach, of 52.8 feet per mile, no tunnel being necessary.  In 1891, completion of the Great Northern Railway allowed for people to settle near Marias Pass, and on January 6th 1893, the Transcontinental line laid its final spike finally connecting to the Pacific Ocean.  In 1910, President William Taft signed the bill creating Glacier National Park and two years later in 1912, construction began on hotels and chalets in and around Glacier Park, connecting travelers by way of train into the heart of Glacier Park.   

During this time, Stevens would be appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as the chief engineer for the Panama Canal from 1905-1907, where he would argue for the necessity of a dam system with locks to raise and lower ships from one ocean to the other, he aided in the rebuilding of the canal’s worker infrastructure better facilitating the ease of recruitment of workers from the U.S., and the rebuilding of the Panama Railway.  Stevens’ experience with Great Northern Railway, prepared him for the rebuilding and upgrading of the new Panama Railroad that would serve primarily as a massive earth-moving project, but to also transport workers, supplies, equipment, and commercial freight and passengers to and from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  Stevens resigned in 1907 when work changed primarily to canal and lock construction.
Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal
John Stevens’ resourcefulness linked the world by way of the Panama Canal, allowing for the ease in transportation and travel by connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, avoiding the long and arduous trip around the southern tip of South America.  Also, he linked the northern-most parallel of North American continent by creating a passageway through the dangerous Rocky Mountains, which would also serve as the channel that would unite tourists to the “Crown of the Continent” – Glacier National Park.  Millions of people around the world have benefited or been affected from these great engineering feats, and as tribute to his works, when crossing the Continental Divide by the Northern Railway, a traveler will now pass by the bronze statue of John F. Stevens at the very location he discovered Marias Pass.

Commemorative bronze statue of John Stevens at Marias Pass

Friday, July 12, 2013

Find Your Favorite Glacier Park Photos on Flickr!

By popular demand, we have created albums on Flickr to accommodate the downloading of some of your favorite pictures including, Facebook Cover Images, Desktop Wall Images, and Historic Photos of Lodges in Glacier Park.  Follow us on Flickr to easily find and download some of your favorite photos from Glacier Park:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July 2013 Calendar and Desktop Wallpapers

To download the desktop wallpaper calendar, just follow these simple steps to get this wallpaper on your computer:

Click on whatever aspect ratio your monitor uses (16x9 or 4x3) and the picture will enlarge.
Right click (or ctrl click on a mac) and select the option "Save image as..." This will allow you to save it to your desktop or where ever is handy.
Locate the image you just saved on your computer, open it and right click on the image. Select "Set as desktop background" and you're finished!

If you need a different size to fit your desktop properly, please leave a note in the comments and we'll add that size to the options.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Food and Beverage Manager at Grouse Mountain


Maintains high quality standards in food & beverage services, safety and sanitation.  Strives to increase revenues and decrease costs. Gives personal best in service while demonstrating commitment to guest satisfaction and positive employee and company relations. 


  1. Provides direction and flow of dining room service, bar service and all banquet functions
  2. Manages (plans, directs, schedules, supervises, evaluates, rewards and disciplines) all work done by a staff of 15-30 throughout the dining room, bar and banquet department
  3. Provides ongoing training for employees, including operations, computer system and responsible beverage service
  4. Takes fast and appropriate action to solve problems and handles all guest and employee concerns in a professional courteous and tactful manner.
  5. Is able to assist or take the place of any staff member when necessary
  6. Provides solid examples of appearance, guest service and integrity
  7. Ensures standards of appearance and sanitation are maintained on a daily basis
  8. Ensures that all service & banquet areas are clean and well maintained
  9. Holds daily pre-shift meeting and weekly department manager meetings
  10. Enforces all company policies and regulations to ensure good safety practices of employees and guests throughout department
  11. Responsible for following federal and state policies and regulation for serving alcoholic beverages in a responsible manner
  12. Ensures dining room, bar and banquet goals are being met by maintaining effective cost and portion control
  13. Responsible for the ordering, receipt and storage of all Dining Room equipment including (but not limited to) china, sliver, paper, banquet items, uniforms, menus, etc. to ensure a minimum loss from waste or theft
  14. Responsible for ordering, receipt and storage of all alcohol inventories and bar equipment.
  15. Maintains time cards daily, records overtime, and is responsible for monthly profit and loss statements.  Completes nightly reports.  Reviews food and beverage sales daily. Adjusts scheduling according to labor and sales figures.
  16. Maintains line of communication between dining room, kitchen and other departments. 
  17. Responsible for designing and implementing sales goals and incentive programs
  18. Collects currency and keeps accurate account for control.  Give receipt with every transaction.
  19. Ensures that all daily reports are sent to Corporate Food and Beverage offices, i.e. labor, sanitation, void reports.
  20. Participates in monthly inventory for all Dining Room and Bar items
  21. Handles all employee issues in a professional, courteous and tactful manner
  22. Complies with all policies and procedures set forth by Glacier Park Inc.
·         2-4 years of college, hospitality management or related experience required
·         2-4 years management experience preferably in a hotel, restaurant, banquet setting required
·         Must have in depth, functional experience of service and standards
·         Restaurant serving, bartending/cocktail experience required 
·         Hospitality/POS system experience preferred
·         Must have working knowledge of kitchen functions and time management
·         Must have knowledge of food, liquor and labor cost controls
·         Must be pleasant, helpful, friendly, outgoing, enthusiastic and courteous in dealing with guests and co-workers
·         Must exhibit strong interpersonal, leadership, verbal and written communication skills. 
·         Must be able to work varied shifts including holidays
·         Must be 18 years of age or older
Work Environment:
·         Hotel Dining & Banquet atmosphere
·         Non smoking environment

To apply: