Sperry Chalet Reconstruction Begins

Visitors will be able to access the area, but should expect strenuous hiking conditions and significant construction noise

By Beacon Staff
The remains of the Sperry Chalet after it burned in the Sprague Fire, pictured on Sept. 1, 2017. Courtesy Glacier National Park

Reconstruction of Sperry Chalet began July 9 in the high country of Glacier National Park, where wildfire destroyed the iconic dormitory structure in August 2017.

Now, crews will begin the work of restoring Sperry, a complicated backcountry project that is expected to span the next two summers and require extensive logistics. Park officials said construction activities this summer will likely run through the end of October.

Dick Anderson Construction will begin by constructing temporary platforms for the work crew’s sleeping facilities. This summer’s work will include new foundation work to stabilize and level the interior structure, with the ultimate goal of supporting a roof. After the foundation is constructed, the main work will include seismic stabilization through the construction of the interior walls, floors and roof framing.

The roof constructed in 2018 will be a temporary membrane to protect the structure through the winter. Materials will be delivered via helicopter and mule train to support reconstruction activities.

The Sperry Chalet Dining Room will begin operating to serve construction crews and visitors to the area. Lunch and a la carte services are available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Breakfast and dinner will be available to the public via reservation with Belton Chalets, Inc. by calling (888) 345-2649.

Earlier this summer, Glacier National Park trail crews, conservation corps members and the Flathead National Forest Hot Shots successfully cleared thousands of trees that had fallen on trails throughout the burn area scorched by last year’s Sprague Fire. Crews also improved the trail tread. Though all trails within the Sprague Fire burn area are cleared, hikers along the Gunsight Trail to the chalet (commonly referred to as the Sperry Trail) will notice that very limited shade is available following the fire.

Though the hike up to Sperry Chalet has never been recommended as an out-and-back day hike, the park is now advising hikers to be particularly careful if they attempt it due to extreme heat from the sun following the burn. The hike is approximately 6.5 miles each way with more than 3,400 feet in elevation gain. The National Park Service considers it a strenuous hike.

Mule train and helicopter flight activity may require temporary closures of adjacent trails including the Gunsight Trail and the Sperry Chalet complex. Visitors can monitor the trail status near the chalet on Glacier Park’s trail status website.

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