Recapturing the Romance of Joe Cosley

Joe Cosley

By Brian McClung 

My name is Brian McClung, president of Glacier Park Books and Videos and author of several books on Glacier National Park: Belly River’s Famous Joe Cosley, Hooked for Good: The Passion for Fishing Belly River and Hiking Bear Country. I started writing about Joe Cosley when I was a kid growing up in Glacier National Park (NW Montana) and Waterton Lakes National Park (Southern Alberta).These International Peace Parks were the headwaters of my youth. Joe Cosley is still the most famous character in Glacier National Park and it is a thrill to share our books and experiences with you, our readers.

What made Joe Cosley a romantic character? He was a mountain man, fancy shooter, national park ranger, World War I soldier, war hero, Indian fighter, renegade, trapper, photographer, guide, poet, fancy skater, writer, tree carver, legend and all-around good guy.

Joe Cosley was certainly a romantic who not only gave flowers to his girlfriends; he composed poetry and named mountain lakes for them. Joe bought a large diamond ring for his true love Elizabeth and when rejected, he buried it in a tree and carved his initials to mark the spot. To camouflage his treasure, Joe carved his name in many trees all over Glacier and Waterton National Parks. One is featured in the Joe Cosley Exhibit now on display in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. Check our website at for more details and updates on this fascinating exhibit.

Joe loved flowers in general and roses in particular. He even painted roses on the brim of his National Park hat. As a talented artist, he painted and did charcoal drawings for his friends and loved ones. He also painted murals on friends’ living room walls.

Joe often wrote to his friends. Some were not just letters but a series of pictures or cartoon drawings with a story told in each frame. One Cosley letter pictured Joe with a broken toe and showed how he broke it and then walked around with it bandaged. It was full of humor. Everyone who received a Cosley letter would share it with friends and neighbors and get a laugh out of the story told.

Each year, Life Preservers Publishing celebrates the romance of Joe Cosley and thanks our readers with a free drawing. On Feb. 4, 2013, we awarded a beautiful bouquet of Cosley Red Roses, Hiking Bear Country by Brian McClung and a one-year subscription to Trapper & Predator Caller magazine. We send a big thank you to F+W Outdoors Group for providing the magazine subscription.

This year’s winner is Brad Sutherland, who lives in a rural area near Liberty, Missouri. He is enjoying our books: Belly River’s Famous Joe Cosley and Hook For Good. All of his family members love the outdoors and spend as much time as possible at their cabin on the Great Lakes in northern Wisconsin. Brad sells commercial water treatment systems and his wife Ann is a stay-at-home mom. Congratulations to Brad and Ann.

You too can be a winner and recapture the romance in your life!

We automatically enter all book and DVD orders into our drawing  for a chance to win a beautiful bouquet of Cosley Roses  and other great prizes on Feb. 3, 2014.

Visit to view our selection of books and DVDs.

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