Glacier National Park construction crews were wrapping up a project this week to stabilize the Sperry Chalet for the winter. The main dormitory at the chalet complex was gutted by the Sprague Fire.
The Glacier National Park Conservancy, the non-profit fundraising arm of the Park, hired DCI + BCE Engineers of Kalispell, the same firm that consulted on repairs to the chalet after it was damaged by an avalanche in 2011, to advise the park on an emergency stabilization plan for the damaged dormitory building prior to winter and to purchase the necessary supplies for that work.
The Conservancy then went to work raising $90,000 for materials and labor to get the job done. It exceeded its goal, raising more than $106,000 and continues to raise funds for future work. The Park Service also provided $18,500 in funding.
Crews under Jack Polzin used 100, 16-foot beams and 20, 20-foot beams to stabilize the stone walls in preparation for winter snows. The hope is to maintain the integrity of the stone so it makes it through the winter months, giving the Park time to come up with a plan to rebuild the chalet.
Montana’s congressional delegation has supported a rebuild as has Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke.
Trails to the chalet remain closed. It’s estimated the Sprague Fire resulted in about 1,900 trees down over trails in the fire and another 1,000 will come down over the winter.
The backcountry campgrounds at Snyder and Lincoln lakes were both impacted, but the pit toilets did not burn down.
Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley said it will take time next year to clear the trees and repair the trails, some of which had tread damage as well.