Zinke Announces $12 Million For Sperry Rebuild

Interior Department to spend $256 million across Park Service to address maintenance backlog

By Justin Franz
Engineers inspect the Sperry Chalet dormitory building earlier to provide stabilization recommendations. Courtesy National Park Service

The National Park Service will spend at least $12 million rebuilding the Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced this week that the federal government would spend $256 million in the coming years to address the National Park Service’s $11.6 billion maintenance backlog.

The Sperry Chalet was partially destroyed in a wildfire last year. Since then, Zinke has been pushing hard to rebuild the beloved wilderness chalet that was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1914.

“The President is a builder, he loves to build and he loves our National Parks, so it is a natural fit that the Administration is dedicating so much attention to rebuilding our aging parks infrastructure. These approved projects are more than just line items on an Excel spreadsheet. They have a tangible effect on a person’s experience when visiting our nation’s parks,” Zinke said.

In an effort to rebuild the fire-gutted chalet as quickly as possible, the National Park Service streamlined the permitting process and construction is expected to begin this summer. Park officials have vowed to rebuild the two-story dormitory within two years.

Rebuilding a chalet that is approximately four miles away from the closest road does not come without massive challenges. The first phase of construction will require anywhere from 150 to 220 helicopter trips to move material to the chalet site and another 200 to 300 flights during the second phase. Helicopter trips are expected to cost approximately $1 million.

Zinke also announced this week that Yellowstone National Park is expected to receive $21 million to rehabilitate the Mammoth Hotel. Other National Park sites receiving money from the Interior as part of the $256 million announced this week include Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Yosemite National Park and the Statue Of Liberty National Monument.

Sen. Steve Daines praised Zinke’s decision to direct $33.3 million to National Park projects in Montana and Wyoming.

“Glacier’s Sperry Chalet and Yellowstone’s Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel have been a places for visitors to stay for decades,” Sen. Daines stated in a press release. “I thank Secretary Zinke for putting Montana’s priorities first and fighting to rebuild and preserve these treasured buildings.”

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