Partnership boosts Sperry Chalet rebuild

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The final push to rebuild Glacier Park’s Sperry Chalet will begin in earnest in July when the snow finally recedes from the historic structure’s stone walls.

The National Park Service announced Tuesday that Dick Anderson Construction will finish the project it began last summer, awarding the Great Falls company a $4.73 million contract for the work. This next phase will mostly center on masonry repairs, roofing and interior work. It’s expected the chalet will be ready for visitors in 2020, just three years after it was gutted in the Sprague Fire that torched thousands of acres in the park.

In the two phases combined, nearly $9 million in federal funding has been allocated for the rebuild, but private philanthropy has played a major role as well.

The Park Service is quick to note that rebuilding the chalet at its original site wouldn’t have happened without the “quick response and financial support” of public donations made through the Glacier National Park Conservancy. The Columbia Falls-based nonprofit helped pull together funding for emergency stabilization of the structure immediately following the fire, while subsequent donations helped support phase 1 construction and wintertime overflights.

All totaled nearly $400,000 has been contributed to date through the Conservancy, and an additional $236,000 grant will support this summer’s work. Those funds are earmarked to pay for meals for the construction crew who will live on site all summer, as well as maintaining Sperry’s amenities for hikers passing through.

“Since literally day one, private donors have stepped up from around the world to support this extraordinary public-private partnership,” Conservancy Director Doug Mitchell told the Inter Lake.

He’s right. The Sperry rebuild stands as a shining example of how private-public partnerships can help accomplish a common goal.

The Conservancy is still about $75,000 short of their phase 2 funding effort, and we encourage those who value the park and Glacier’s history to contribute. One hundred percent of donations made through the Sperry Action Fund go directly toward the Sperry rebuild. Visit www.sperryactionfund.org.

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