Park Service Proposing Bathroom Renovations in Apgar Campground

Proposed renovations would alter the historical character of one restroom

By Beacon Staff
Glacier National Park. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The National Park Service is seeking to improve four restrooms in the popular Apgar Campground in Glacier National Park.

Established in the 1920s, Apgar has grown into one of the park’s largest campgrounds with more than 200 sites near Apgar Village on the southern shore of Lake McDonald. The campground, which is one of 13 front-country sites in Glacier, is frequently full during the summer, according to the NPS.

To address increasing visitor use, the agency is proposing to remove and replace one restroom, or comfort station, that is currently used for storage and improve three existing restrooms in the busy campground.

The restroom that was previously used for storage, known as Comfort Station #234 on Loop B, would be renovated with a double vault toilet.

Comfort Stations #228, #238, and #234 on Loops A, C, and D and their surrounding walkways would be rehabilitated to provide accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Comfort Station #238 (on Loop C) would also receive a shower addition.

The proposed renovations, which are open to public comment, would alter the historical character of #234, according to the agency.

The Apgar Campground retains many of the original features of NPS development before Mission 66, a term referring to the agency’s 10-year program that dramatically expanded visitor services in the National Park System. In the mid-1950s it became increasingly apparent that massive investment in park infrastructure was required and planners developed Mission 66 as a way to accommodate increased visitor numbers and to provide high-quality interpretation services.

The restrooms in Apgar contain qualities that make them eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

“These Comfort Stations are considered distinguished examples of rustic and modern architecture from two different periods of Park Service architectural development,” the agency states in its document proposing the changes.

Comfort Station #234 was developed in the pre-Mission 66 era. This station has been out of service for 20 years and would be completely replaced by a double vault toilet.

An officer with the Montana State Historic Preservation agreed with the parks determination that removing it would have an adverse effect, according to the NPS. The MSHP officer provided recommendations for the park to avoid adverse effects, but the NPS determined it would be cost prohibitive.

The National Park Service is accepting public comment on the proposals through May 26. To submit, send comments through the website or to: Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: Apgar Campground Improvements, PO Box 128 West Glacier, Montana 59936.

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