Montana’s Glacier National Park may soon face an identity crisis: Some scientists have predicted the park will be glacier free by 2020 due to climate change, according to the U.S. National Park Service.
In 1910, when the park was founded, there were likely about 150 glaciers in the area, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Climate Change in Mountain Ecosystems program. A century later, in 2010, only 25 glaciers larger than 25 acres (10 hectares) remained.
“The loss of glaciers in [the park] will have significant consequences for park ecosystems as well as impacting landscape aesthetics valued by park visitors,” according to the program website.
For instance, without the glacial “bank” of fresh water that’s released regularly into streams, the water bodies will become warmer, causing some aquatic species to suffer or die out—including trout and salmon varieties.