Public comments indicate broad support for using remnant walls to rebuild chalet

West Glacier, MT – The public comment period for Sperry Chalet, The Next 100 Years Project closed on April 2. The park received nearly 400 comments. Approximately 72% percent of commenters favored some combination of concepts one and two proposed by the National Park Service in February. Those concepts outlined scenarios to use the existing remnant walls of the Sperry Chalet dormitory building to rebuild the chalet with some modernization, while retaining defining historic features and character. The Sperry Chalet dormitory building was badly burned during the 2017 Sprague Fire in late August.

Only the stone walls were left standing when the Sprague Fire gutted the popular Sperry Chalet. Engineers braced the structure to protect against the weight of winter snowpack. A flyover earlier this month showed the walls are still standing. (Photo: Glacier Conservancy)
Only the stone walls were left standing when the Sprague Fire gutted the popular Sperry Chalet. (Photo: Glacier Conservancy)

Approximately 5% favored concept 3, which proposed to build a new dormitory building in a different location, and 5% favored concept 4, which proposed tent-like structures to provide overnight accommodations. Some people also wrote in suggesting other ideas not identified in the scoping newsletter, including approximately 4% of commenters who favored allowing the area to return to a natural state. An additional 14% of comments offered slightly different concepts including such things as further fire or avalanche protections, or a hostel-type dormitory.

Overall, public comments expressed strong interest in retaining the historic character of the Sperry experience.

The National Park Service is accelerating its environmental assessment schedule for the Sperry Chalet project. The objective behind acceleration is to complete required environmental compliance in advance of the summer season, in order to achieve additional stabilization before next winter. That stabilization includes additional seismic bracing and roofing.

The public can expect to review and comment on the draft environmental assessment in mid-April for a 15-day review period. The park plans to issue a final decision by mid- May.

The environmental assessment will be posted on the National Park Service Planning Website and the park will issue another press release when the comment period opens. The initial project newsletter released in late February outlining the four preliminary concepts is still available online.

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