For cook and seasonal campground owner Nathan St. Goddard, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is hitting closer to home than expected.
St. Goddard is the owner and operator of Johnson’s of St. Mary, a campground, RV park, cabin rental site and restaurant located less than .5 miles from the east entrance of Glacier National Park. Normally for St. Goddard, summer means hiring a full bench of workers to keep up with Glacier’s busy season, as thousands of campground guests and diners cycle through his doors. But this season, a lack of J-1 visa workers has left Johnson’s of St. Mary understaffed, forcing St. Goddard to cut back on normal operations.
“It’s been tough,” St. Goddard said. “We’ve limited our menu. We’ve increased our prices. You have to do that across the board.”
Many of these absent workers, the campground owner said, usually come from conflict-ridden Russia and Ukraine.