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Paddlers explore Kintla Lake in Glacier National Park.

On Saturday, more than 150 businesses are partnering with the Glacier National Park Conservancy to participate in One Day for Glacier, a fundraiser for conservation, research, education and preservation projects in the park.

The Glacier National Park Conservancy is the official philanthropic and outreach partner of GNP and invests in various endeavors that benefit the park and the people who live nearby.

“We had talked about it for a few years, and it really came together this year as a way to engage the gateway to Glacier businesses in park philanthropy and celebrate a key piece of the state economy,” said Lauren Alley, director of marketing and communications for the conservancy.

The event has been endorsed by every chamber of commerce in the Flathead Valley, along with many more. On Saturday, participating businesses will ask customers to round up their purchases or donate an extra dollar.

Other businesses have made a flat donation, and some are matching customer donations.

Each business will have a sign in its window explaining how it is contributing and ways that customers can participate. Customers will be given a “Celebrate One Day for Glacier” sticker.

“Glacier is our business,” said Ben Eisinger of Eisinger Automotive Group, one of the businesses that is participating. “One Day for Glacier is our way to give a little bit back to the park that gives us so much.”

Eisinger Motors and Eisinger Honda will donate $5 for every purchase over $50. This year, Eisinger Honda also donated a leased vehicle to the conservancy.

Alley said organizers recruited businesses by going out and “walking the streets.”

“Folks were really excited to participate,” she said. “A personal touch is really important. We hope to broaden our scope next year.”

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A youth group in Whitefish will donate a portion of the proceeds from a lemonade stand. Other businesses are located in Bigfork and Great Falls.

“We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to this campaign,” said Glacier National Park Conservancy president Mark Preiss. “Our business partners are deeply invested in the park’s future, and this an important step in developing a more deliberate partnership that celebrates our gateway communities’ tradition of support and Glacier as a vital part of Montana’s economy.”

One Day for Glacier is being celebrated in conjunction with Backpacker’s Ball, the conservancy’s signature fundraising event. The event is sold out, and is expected to bring in well over $100,000 in essential support for Glacier National Park. The conservancy is investing the money in more than 20 projects throughout the park, from educational opportunities for schoolkids to trail and lookout rehabilitation and the relocation of the Apgar Visitor Center.

“In any given year, these funds could be directed to pay for school buses to take kids to the park, harlequin duck research in creeks, bear studies or historic restoration on park structures like the Sperry Chalet,” Alley said. “It does vary by year in terms of park need, but education is a very big focus for a lot of our donations.”

To learn more about One Day for Glacier and participating businesses, visit glacierconservancy.org/newsblog/celebrate-1-day-for-glacier-on-august-2.

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Reporter David Erickson can be reached at david.erickson@missoulian.com.

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