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Film exhibit tells story of Glacier Park’s esteemed ranger

| August 3, 2022 1:00 AM

The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art in Great Falls is presenting a touching and informative documentary film exhibit about longtime Glacier National Park ranger Doug Follett.

Titled “Your Friend, Ranger Doug” the film and exhibit will be available to view through Oct. 5.

At the time the film was made, 93-year-old Doug Follett had been a Glacier National Park ranger for 58 years. Through his lifetime in Whitefish, his charisma and accomplishments have made him a local celebrity. However, as Follett approaches the end of his life, he simultaneously watches the lifeblood of the exquisite environment melt away. In the documentary, Follett and other GNP experts study and communicate the undeniable decay of the glaciers. Through moments of reflection, Follett uniquely parallels this loss to friends and family who have passed. By sharing the history and his personal encounters through poetic prose, Ranger Doug proves that a simple conversation can keep those who have passed, and the natural environment, alive.

Now 96, Ranger Doug Follett was born in 1926, surrounded by the mountains of Fernie, British Columbia, and has spent his life in the mountains of the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park. Doug’s career spanned 35 years as a history teacher and 60 years as a seasonal park naturalist. Growing up in Whitefish in the 1930s, he was raised on hiking and fishing with friends from dawn to dusk, assuming the world would never change. Follett is optimistic that the next generations of wilderness stewards can solve the issues facing our environment today, but to quote him, ”They’d better hurry.”

In the making of the documentary, Follett especially enjoyed working with the talented team of young filmmakers. They shared his passion for telling the story of climate change, the impacts, and the hope for solutions.

The short documentary was made by Celine Francois, Claire Jantzen, Kayla Borkovec, Lexi Johnson, and Sara Nell through Chapman University.

The film premiered at Chagrin Documentary Film Festival in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, in October 2020. It was screened in festivals from October 2020 to January 2022, Polson being the last festival.

Patrons are encouraged to take the time to visit the exhibition to fully enjoy the film and read the accompanying texts in the gallery. Words are written by the makers of the film and by Ranger Doug himself.

Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is located at 1400 First Ave. N., Great Falls. Visitor hours are Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday and Monday the museum is closed and on select holidays. Admission is free to the public. Visit www.the-square.org, or call 406-727-8255 for further information.

JOIN THE documentary’s filmmakers and museum curator for a virtual online discussion about the creation and development of their film “Your Friend, Ranger Doug.” at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 26 via Facebook Live. Follow at https://www.facebook.com/PGSMOA/

photo

Ranger Doug with his eldest great-grandchild Sebastian on his front porch in Whitefish, Montana. Image Credit: Ranger Doug’s Family

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