GLACIER NATIONAL PARK – While crews prepare to shut down rebuilding operations at the Sperry Chalet for the winter, the efforts to raise additional funds for the historic building’s comeback will continue through the “cold season”.
This week contractors are working to “button up” the first season of reconstruction on the historic lodge, where the dormitory building was destroyed by fire last year.
While construction work will pause until next summer, the Glacier National Park Conservancy and its supporters will be continuing to complete funding to finish off the big backcountry project.
“The response has been remarkable,” observes Doug Mitchell, Executive Director for the Glacier National Park Conservancy, which is helping sponsor the work.
“People from all 50-states have become contributors to the Sperry Action Fund. And we’ve raised nearly half-a-million dollars since the inception of it. And this icon really has resonated with people and the opportunity to do something positive for the future of the park,” Mitchell added.
All told, the combination of fundraising efforts and government contributions has generated more than $1.3 million toward a total goal of $2.8 million. That target will help finish the dorm rebuilding and also provide other upgrades to keep the popular destination operating for decades to come.
Mitchell believes the progress during this first season is showing people that the dream of rebuilding around the walls that were left standing by the Sprague Fire is not only possible, but already taking shape.
He also says the hard work by Dick Anderson Construction crews and the other subcontractors will leave the chalet in a much stronger condition to withstand the winter storms with the new roof in place.
“It’s not complete but they intend to have it complete and winter ready by the time they get chased off the mountain. This is a pretty hardy crew that they have up there.”
And Mitchell says getting the roof in place was the major goal for this first season.
“You know Secretary Zinke was in our office here in March saying let’s get a roof on there by the winter and I think we all took that challenge very seriously. And again, donors and supporters and the government, I mean really everybody pulled together to make the impossible possible.”
Once work finishes, its likely crews won’t be able to get back on scene until the middle of next summer. But that should leave enough time to complete the work after one more season.