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Sperry Chalet stabilization begins, donations requested

Inspectors check out the standing stonework of the Sperry Chalet after a Glacier National Park wildfire burned away the wood structure of the century old backcountry building on Aug. 31, 2017. (GLACIER CONSERVANCY PHOTO)
Inspectors check out the standing stonework of the Sperry Chalet after a Glacier National Park wildfire burned away the wood structure of the century old backcountry building on Aug. 31, 2017. (GLACIER CONSERVANCY PHOTO)

A fund has been launched toward eventually restoring Sperry Chalet, which burned Aug. 31 in the Sprague Fire that raised havoc in a wide area of Glacier National Park.

The roof and woodwork inside and out of the main building have burned away, but the walls of fine rock masonry still stand, giving hope to the potential for restoring the century-old chalet that requires negotiating nearly seven miles of trail to reach.

A Sperry Action Fund has been established by the Glacier Conservancy to cover costs related to work at the chalet.

With an initial emergency fund of $90,000, the conservancy has hired an engineering firm to assess the integrity of the remaining structure and recommend stabilization actions to protect the stonework remains through the winter. Stabilization must be done quickly as winter is fast approaching in the Glacier backcountry, where the chalet was built at 6,000 feet.

“The Sperry Action Fund is in addition to the more than 50 projects and programs the park has requested funding for in the coming year, prompting the conservancy to reach out for more donations. So far, those fundraising efforts have collected $58,445.

“This work represents the first step in assessing the extent of the damage to evaluate what future actions might be possible,” the conservancy said.

“As a special thank you for any donations of $100 or more, we will send you a Limited Edition 12x18 poster of Sperry created and generously donated by Roy E. Hughes. Roy created this digital block print image when he was a Glacier National Park Artist-in-Residence in 2005.”

Outlying buildings including the kitchen, dining room and utility cabin survived the fire, while the interior floors and roof were completely burned out. That greatly destabilized the exterior rock walls built in 1914 by rock masons employed by the Great Northern Railroad.

In order for the dormitory to be rebuilt, a park historic preservation crew will have to win the race against winter conditions to brace the walls with a series of large beams and plywood.



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