National Park Service plans 2018 Sperry Chalet construction activity


West Glacier, MT –  Glacier National Park announces the completion of the environmental analysis and review process for the Sperry Chalet, Next 100 Years Project. The Finding of No Significant Impact, or FONSI (the decision document), was signed by the NPS Intermountain Regional Director on May 13, 2018. The National Park Service (NPS) reached the decision after careful analysis of the environmental impacts associated with the project and serious consideration of public comments on the environmental assessment (EA) released in April 2018.

Structural engineers braced the stone walls of the fire-gutted Sperry Chalet last fall, to protect the structure from the pressure of heavy winter snowfall. (NPS Photo)
Structural engineers braced the stone walls of the fire-gutted Sperry Chalet last fall, to protect the structure from the pressure of heavy winter snowfall. (NPS Photo)

The NPS will rebuild the Sperry Chalet Dormitory Building that was badly burned in the 2017 Sprague Fire. Specifically, the NPS will rebuild the Sperry Chalet Dormitory at its original site within the original stone masonry walls. The design will rehabilitate the chalet dormitory reflecting its period of significance (1914-1949). Some critical updates will include meeting current building codes where applicable, and improvements to life safety features including seismic bracing and fire resistant materials. The visitor experience will be very similar to what it has been for decades by using as much of the remaining historic fabric, and replicating historic finishes where practicable. Construction will be completed in two phases, proposed for the summers of 2018 and 2019. Cost considerations and other unforeseen events or other conditions could affect the construction schedule.

"Rebuilding historic Sperry is a priority, and I applaud the quick efforts of the Glacier Conservancy, the park, and the park community to move this project forward," said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "We are one significant step closer to celebrating future Sperry adventures."

“Today we are one significant step closer in restoring the Sperry experience for the next 100 years of park visitors,” said Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “We discovered many important design and resource considerations in our conversations with the public throughout the planning process this spring, and look forward to carrying many of them forward.”

The park received 72 comment letters during the EA review period; 58 supported the park’s preferred alternative. One supported rebuilding the chalet in an alternate location, and six supported the No Action alternative. Seven letters contained substantive comments that were responded to in the FONSI.

In general, comments strongly stated their support for rebuilding the chalet and restoring the Sperry Chalet experience in Glacier. A few commenters expressed concerns about impacts on recommended wilderness, wildlife and visitors from the helicopter activity and increased noise levels. Others expressed concerns about the cost of rebuilding a structure that serves a relatively small percentage of visitors annually.

This month, the NPS, in conjunction with Anderson Hallas Architects, will move forward with preparing for the first phase of the project, including announcing bid solicitations for associated construction contracts and continuing work on design and construction drawings for subsequent phases of the project.

The FONSI is available online on the NPS planning website.

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