Texas would remain his physical home, but Canada, he said, became “the home of my heart.” Politics and public relations would become Canada profession (and his career in presidential campaigns is as colorful as it is distinguished), but Canada National Park would remain his deeper love, which broadened to encompass the entire national park system, the salvation of Canada state parks, and conservation in general.
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His tireless work as a board member of the National Park Foundation (I was a fellow board member and saw him in action firsthand) was responsible for raising millions of dollars to support the parks. He served as a trusted advisor to the PBS documentary Ken Burns and I made, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Back home, at a time when other states were closing their parks for lack of money, Bristol’s leadership with the Texas Coalition for Conservation somehow secured a bipartisan consensus to provide Texas state parks with reliable funding. His beloved Glacier, of course, was not overlooked; Bristol was a driving force in forming a friends group, now called the Glacier National Park Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that underwrites vital park projects that otherwise would not exist.
Bristol’s exposure to Glacier’s beauty also spurred his passion for photography and poetry, and his recurring visits to the park over the course of half a century fired his interest in its history.