GLACIER NATIONAL PARK – This week, Secretary Ryan Zinke and the Department of the Interior announced $12 million in federal funding for the reconstruction of the Sperry Chalet. The National Park Service will rebuild the Chalet at the original site within the original stone masonry walls.
On the heels of the announcement, a photographer who gained attention for taking one of the most iconic photos of the Sperry Chalet just weeks before it burned in a forest fire last August, is applauding the effort and releasing a book.
I’m standing at the trail head to the Sperry Chalet where excitement is buzzing. Just this week we learned a Great Falls contractor won the construction bid and of a $12 million boost towards the project from the federal government.
For more than a century, the Sperry Chalet’s stone masonry walls welcomed visitors off the trail. Visitors like Brett Bouda.
"I think the unique part of the chalet was the real 19th century experience. There is no power and there is no running water," Bouda said.
The chalet can be reached only by trail via hiking or horseback. Bouda, with camera in tow, has captured it each year since 2004.
"It’s almost seven miles. It’s 3,300 feet elevation gain and mostly wooded area," said Bouda.
Constructed in 1913, it saw its first guests in 1914, but last August, the chalet burned in a forest fire.
A major announcement this week by the National Park Service brings hope to Bouda: the chalet will be restored to reflect its original period of significance from 1914 to 1949.
For those who couldn’t make the hike to see the rustic lodge in its former glory, Bouda is set to release a new book on the Chalet next week.
"There’s a little big of history, beautiful pictures of the Sperry Chalet itself, and then all of these hikes leading to the Chalet and through the Chalet."
The cover photo is one of the most iconic and last images of the chalet, taken by Bouda just weeks before it burned.
Funding for reconstruction was also provided by privately solicited donations from the Glacier National Park Conservancy.
"Sperry Chalet: 1914 to 2017" is set to be officially releasd on Saturday, June 23, in Condon at the Mission Mountains Mercantile. Bouda will be on hand to sign copies.