Frequently Asked Questions
Get your questions answered about all things regarding what happened to, the current state of and future plans to rebuild Sperry Chalet.
Will Sperry Chalet be rebuilt?
Yes. The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing to rebuild the Sperry Chalet Dormitory Building that was badly burned in the Sprague Fire in 2017. Specifically, the NPS is proposing to rebuild the Sperry Chalet Dormitory at its original site within the original walls.
Will the public have a voice in the planning process?
Yes. The National Park Service released the environment assessment for the Sperry Chalet rebuild. The environment assessment document will be open for review and public comment until Monday, May 7. A public meeting was held on April 23 to provide an opportunity for discussion.
Public scoping was conducted from February 28 – April 2, 2018 to encourage early public participation, recognize important features of the Sperry Chalet experience, and identify potential resource issues. During the scoping period, two public meetings were held, and the park received 403 comments. The concerns raised during scoping were considered in the environmental assessment.
When will construction at Sperry begin? How long will the project take?
Construction would be completed in two phases, proposed for the summers of 2018 and 2019. Cost considerations and other unforeseen events or conditions could affect the construction schedule.
What will the new Sperry Chalet look like?
Good question! The design would restore the chalet dormitory reflecting its period of significance (1914-1949). Some critical updates would be included including current building codes where applicable, and improvements to life safety features including seismic bracing and fire resistant materials. The visitor experience would be very similar to what it has been for decades by using as much of the remaining historic fabric, and replicating historic finishes where practicable.
Is the Glacier National Park Conservancy (GNPC) in charge of the Sperry project?
No. Glacier National Park will take the lead on coordinating the re-build effort. We here at the Conservancy will play an important supporting roll and will continue to do what we do best – raise money and coordinate resources to support any requests from Glacier Park for the Sperry project.
Hasn’t the money needed to rebuild Sperry already been raised?
Unfortunately, no. The money donated to the Sperry Action Fund was specifically earmarked for the stabilization project. Our fundraising goal was $106,200, and we’ve raised over $300,000! The surplus money will be used to fund future requests by Glacier National Park for work at Sperry Chalet.
A full rebuild project will require significantly more money. It will no doubt require a strong public / private partnership. Funding will come from federal sources, including fire relief, in addition to a large scale private fundraising campaign led by the Glacier National Park Conservancy.
I donated money to the Sperry Action Fund. How was that money spent?
In September 2017, Glacier National Park requested a total of $106,200 for Sperry Chalet. The Glacier National Park Conservancy established the Sperry Action Fund to raise that amount, and the money was used to support the following:
- DCI + BCE Engineers was hired (the firm that consulted on repairs after the dormitory was damaged by an avalanche in 2011) to assess the integrity of the remaining rock walls and to develop plans to stabilize the structure.
- The physical materials needed to complete the stabilization project were purchased.
- Transportation of materials and personnel to the site via helicopter was provided.
Was the stabilization work completed in October 2017 successful?
So far so good! We are excited to have some recent images of Sperry Chalet, and the walls are still standing. Please check out the photos and video on our Winter Update page. The next overflight is scheduled for early May, weather permitting.
Was Sperry Chalet insured?
Yes. In the event of damage or destruction, concessioners are required under the terms of their contract, to repair, restore or replace the facility and to have property insurance for this purpose. The minimum property insurance amount is specified in the contract.
A minimum insurance replacement value (IRV) for each concession structure is determined and specified by the National Park Service using an industry-standard system. The concessioner for Sperry Chalet maintained property insurance at the contract-specified IRV amount of $1.2 M which will be available to rebuild the Sperry dormitory building.
The Glacier National Park Conservancy is currently holding the $1.2 M property insurance reimbursement for the rebuild of the dormitory facility.
How was Sperry Chalet lost to the Sprague Fire?
The Sprague Fire started by a lightning strike on August 10, 2017. The challenging terrain and demand for fire resources made it impossible to put the fire out, so fire crews did their best to manage the movement of the fire.
In the following weeks, several groups of highly skilled teams worked to protect the buildings in the Sperry Chalet complex and the surrounding area. They installed a hose lay, a sprinkler and pump system, and they wrapped portions of the buildings with fire resistant material.
Despite a valiant effort to protect the structure, a combination of high winds, hot weather, low humidity, and unique terrain features conspired, and the beloved dormitory building was completely consumed by the fire. Fortunately, the other structures in the Sperry complex were saved.
I’m interested in volunteering for Sperry – How can I help?
There will certainly be opportunities to volunteer in various capacities. Although no specific dates for volunteer projects have been set, plans are in the works! Please complete our online Volunteer Interest Form, so that we can let you know about future volunteer opportunities.
Is it possible to donate building materials to the Sperry project?
Yes. Support comes in many forms. The GNPC welcomes in-kind contributions of materials and supplies. Please contact us to discuss your ideas!
How can I donate money to help rebuild Sperry?
Simply click on the link for the Sperry Action Fund, and scroll down the page to the online donation form. You can also send a check to the Glacier National Park Conservancy, just be sure to include a note about the Sperry Action Fund.
Glacier National Park Conservancy
P.O. Box 2749
Columbia Falls, MT 59912
Your contribution will be designated specifically to support future work at Sperry Chalet. Thank you for your support!
Sperry Photo Albums
I was fortunate to hike up to Sperry on May 3, and I wanted to share some photos from the trip! It was fascinating to walk the Sperry Trail. I know that trail by heart, yet some sections were unrecognizable after the Sprague Fire, while others looked the same as they did before. Given the avalanche-prone cliffs as you approach the chalet, we took a route far below the trail to stay out of harm's way. I loved seeing the buildings covered in snow and the goats still wearing their winter coats! It was very encouraging to see the walls of the hotel still being supported by the stabilization work that the Glacier Conservancy funded last fall. Enjoy the photos!