The United States Mint and the National Park Service held a special release ceremony for the Glacier National Park Quarter in a high school gymnasium not far from the rugged mountains, treasured wilderness, and historic chalets that draw millions of visitors a year to western Montana. The festivities took place on Wednesday afternoon April 13, 2011, at Columbia Falls High School in Columbia Falls, Montana.
To get things started, the Columbia Falls High School jazz ensemble performed. Park Ranger Bill Schustrom served as Master of Ceremonies and introduced several official speakers. They included Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright, Associate Director of Marketing for the United States Mint B.B. Craig, and Director of the Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau Jan Metzmaker.
Among the praise given to those who worked together to come up with the quarter design which captures a scene that will be recognizable to visitors who drive over Going-to-the-Sun Road, it was US Mint Associate Director Craig who stated, “The Glacier National Park quarter will connect America to the wonder, grandeur and beauty of one of the Nation’s most awe-inspiring natural treasures.”
The Columbia Falls High School Sonifers performed “Glacier Song,” and then Craig presented Cartwright with a framed display of a Denver and Philadelphia minted Glacier National Park Quarter.
Cartwright, Craig and other representatives distributed free quarters to school-aged children in attendance. Many of the younger students were from nearby West Glacier and Canyon elementary schools.
Approximately 1,000 people attended the official launch ceremony, which was followed by a coin exchange sponsored by Freedom Bank of Columbia Falls. Attendees stood in lines to swap cash for $10 rolls of the new coins. $16,000 worth of quarters were exchanged. Many then headed to the Columbia Falls Post Office which had a special pictorial cancellation postmark designed to signify the rolls came from the event. Collectors often follow this procedure so they can prove the $10 rolls were procured at the release ceremony. Those who choose to sell canceled rolls can often attain higher values from other collectors.
The quarter, whose reverse side features a mountain goat clamoring on the rocky slopes of the park’s high country with an iconic view of the northeast slope of Mount Reynolds in the background, is the second new design launched this year. It was designed by Barbara Fox and sculpted by Charles L. Vickers.
The coin release was preceded by Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter from Pennsylvania, and it will be followed by quarters that depict Olympic National Park in Washington, Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma. (See 2011 quarter images.)
The legal tender Glacier National Park Quarter is the seventh in the America the Beautiful Quarters series which honors United States national parks and sites. The Program started in 2010 and runs until the last quarter design is released in 2021.
The Federal Reserve Bank began public circulation of the Glacier Quarter on Monday, April 4, which was the same day that the US Mint began offering 100-coin bags and two-roll sets of the coins. The bags and rolls can be ordered at http://www.usmint.gov/catalog or 1-800 USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may order at 1-888-321-MINT (6468).
Glacier National Park received more than 2.2 million visitors in 2010 who sought to witness the prominent glacier-carved terrain and remnant glaciers. Evidence shows the glaciers descended from the ice age that occurred approximately 10,000 years ago. The land within Glacier National Park accounts for more than one million acres of forests, alpine meadows, lakes, mountains and glacially carved valleys in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The park has been described as having some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. The land was first set aside as a national reserve on February 22, 1897.
In related news, National Park Week kicks off April 16 and lasts until April 24. This year’s focus, Healthy Parks, Healthy People, highlights the connection between human and environmental health and the vital role America’s national parks play in both. Visit the link for more information about the events and celebrations held throughout the week.
About US Mint
The United States Mint, created by Congress in 1792, is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces proof, uncirculated and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver, gold and platinum bullion coins.