The Glacier National Park has a park ranger who has a penchant for belly rubs, and the heart to protect both humans and animals alike. Gracie, the border collie, is the park's newest ranger who uses her herding skills to steer away from a group of deer from mountain lions, glacier goats, and sheep away from hunters or residential areas.
Gracie came to the park last year in the park's canine pilot program. She had her training at the Wind River Bear Institute in Montana to herd wildlife like grizzly bears. Together with her owner, Mark Biel, who is also Glacier National Park's Natural Resources Program Manager, they spend more time overseeing the Logan Pass, the park's popular site for wildlife spotting.
Due to more visitors coming in the area, Gracie was called to serve as a herder of the animals to steer clear from visitors. This could decrease the likely chance of humans and animals getting hurt from too much interaction.
Park management usually use the traditional method of shooing animals away like shouting or making loud noises, but the animals would come back. With Gracie's herding skills, animals get to stay much longer.
An Instagram post made by the Barker Ranger National Park Service shows a short video of Gracie moving eight deer out of the park residential area. "The goal of this work is to discourage the deer from spending time directly in the residential area, where they attract mountain lions," they said.
Glacier National Park's "bark ranger" and Biel are considered as wildlife ambassadors of the park, promoting visitors' safe distance away from wild animals. Gracie was recently awarded the Partners Choice Award by the Public Lands Alliance for her service of preserving the land making the trip to the Glaciers a memorable one.