Park plans to extend some utilities to Kelly’s Camp

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The lone remaining cabin at Kelly’s Camp. The rest were lost when the fire blew up Aug. 11.

Glacier National Park announced Monday that it has plans to extend electricity and telephone service to Kelly’s Camp along Lake McDonald.

Kelly’s Camp is an enclave of private landownings along the north shore of Lake McDonald. Most of the structures there burned down in the Howe Ridge Fire last summer.

The camp previously got its power and water from a nearby stream utilizing a hydroelectric system. That system was damaged in the fire. Extending services would make it easier for inholders to rebuild on their properties.

Currently phone and power lines provide service to inholdings and park facilities at the head of the lake. Kelly’s Camp is a little more than two miles from there.

Flathead Electric Co-op spokeswoman Wendy Ostrom-Price said the cost just to put line down is about $10 a foot. Ostrom-Price said the inholders are paying for the extension costs.

The Park said it will do the work under a categorical exclusion, meaning it will not have to go through a typical environmental review. The utilities would simply follow the existing North Lake McDonald Road.

When the plan is finalized, the Park will release it later this winter on its planning website.

The Park is also working on releasing other planning documents including:

• The long awaited Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor management plan and environmental assessment. This plan has been in the works for years, but never released. A plan is anticipated in the spring with an opportunity for public comment. The National Park Service initiated an Environmental Impact Statement initially, but the plan now will be an assessment, which requires less environmental review.

• A property management plan for cabins owned by the Park Service along Lake McDonald. The Park is considering leasing or other public-private partnerships to restore the structures. A decision should come out this spring.

• A plan to conserve westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout in the Camas drainage. The project would remove non-native Yellowstone cutthroat trout from Camas Lake, Lake Evangeline, and Camas Creek above Arrow Lake and relocate native westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout to Camas Lake and Lake Evangeline. The EA is expected to be released in the spring with an opportunity for public comment.

• A comprehensive communication plan for the Park. The plan will identify the level of communication infrastructure and services needed in the park to support two-way radio systems, phone services (cellular and landline), Internet, and alarms. It will guide development of communication services including potential design, location, and appropriateness of facilities and other related communication infrastructure. The park expects to begin public scoping sometime in 2019.

The documents will be posted at the park’s planning website as they become available at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/parkHome.cfm?parkID=61

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