Baseball’s independent Pioneer League will grow from eight teams in 2021 to ten in 2022. We’ve known for some time that the ninth team will be the Northern Colorado Owlz—freshly relocated from Orem, Utah—who will resume play after taking a season off last year. And just moments ago, we learned the identity of the tenth team, which will play in Kalispell, Montana.
The Glacier Range Riders draw their name from nearby Glacier National Park, which was established in 1910 (which, the team says, is why the announcement was made on January 19 at 10:00am). The city of Kalispell, with a population of just over 100,000, sits on the edge of the park, and the new team’s identity derives directly from the early days of park rangers who worked for the National Park Service.
“We see this as a sort of Glacier National Park universe,” said Jason Klein of Brandiose, who created the identity. “In that universe, we have our Rocky Mountain goat, we have our bear—and the bear is driving the classic Glacier National Park buses that are so famous there.”
The brand focuses on a particular era of the Park Service, which the contemporary visitor to the park is unlikely to encounter.
“We reference a lot of the 1920s and ’30s, the original uniforms of the National Park Service rangers,” Klein said, “going back to the original park ranger that was part of the National Park System—less of the modern-day educator and scientist, and more in the sort of rugged explorers that were the foundation of the National Park Service.”
The team itself described the era of the National Park Service that inspired the brand like this:
“Inspired by early 20th-century outdoorsmen patrolling the 1.3 million acres that is now Glacier National Park, the name ‘Range Rider’ has deep regional roots. These wilderness defenders protected and preserved the area from poachers, wildfires, and timber thieves during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency. Their rough-and-tumble role and characteristic toughness influenced the creation of the Range Rider mascot, a yet unnamed mountain goat.”
While Klein describes the era as the “golden age of the beginnings of the National Park Service,” he also notes that the team is the first in professional sports to use this particular government-issued land management agency shade of olive green as its primary color.
When the Glacier Range Riders begin play on May 23, 2022, they’ll be the northernmost team in the Pioneer League, and they’ll play in a brand-new stadium, which at the time of this writing is still under construction.