Park looks at saving historic backcountry building

Peninsula News Network


Clallam County, WA - Olympic National Park leaders are asking for the public’s input as they develop plans to save the historic Enchanted Valley Chalet in the parks’ backcountry.

The chalet was built back in the 1930s before the park was established and served as a lodge for hikers and horse travelers to the scene valley on the Upper Quinault. Today the chalet is still a popular destination and is used as a ranger station and emergency shelter and is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

But as we told you last fall following those record storms in October, the East Fork of the Quinault changed its course during the flooding and now the river is just 20 feet away from the edge of the chalet. The river used to be 170 feet away.

Park officials say they need to do something to deal with the immediate threat to the historic building, and what should be done to maintain and rehabilitate the historic building.

The park is going to prepare an environmental assessment that will analyze possible plans, including the “no action” alternative. The EA will also try and determine whether the river will continue to erode the bank near the chalet.

Park officials want to get public feedback on the issues related to the future of the Enchanted Valley Chalet, so they can be analyzed in the upcoming assessment, which would be released for additional public comment this fall.


Meanwhile, ONP leaders are also asking for public input on a plan to protect the Finley Creek bridge on the Quinault North Shore Road. The park has had continued problems with the bridge because anywhere from 85,000 to100,000 cubic yards of gravel build up each year, obstructing the creek channel and threatening to wash out the bridge. Now, park leaders have come up with an idea to remove some of the gravel from the site and use it elsewhere for park maintenance projects.


Olympic National Park has been selected as a pilot park in the Park Service’s new Planning Environment and Public Comment System, a web-based program that allow people to review park plans and comment electronically.

Park Superintendent Bill Laitner says the new system should provide a more streamlined and effective way for people to comment on park management plans and documents.

The public access site is and there’s also a link from the Olympic National Park website . Information on the Enchanted Valley Chalet and the Finley Creek Bridge have already been posted for public review.


Olympic National Park: Historical chalet threatened by charging river -- should it be saved?

Peninsula Daily News


A picturesque two-story chalet in Olympic National Park that helps give Enchanted Valley its name is being threatened by a charging river.

The Enchanted Valley Chalet -- which predates the national park -- is located along the East Fork Quinault River in Jefferson County.

Last October's heavy rains dramatically changed the East Fork's path, bringing it to within 20 feet of the chalet, Olympic National Park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said Wednesday.

Prior to the autumn storms, the river's path was about 170 feet from the building.

Located 13 miles up trail from the Graves Creek trailhead, the chalet was built in the early 1930s and served as a lodge for hikers and horseback riders in Enchanted Valley, Maynes said.

Today, Enchanted Valley remains a popular wilderness destination and the chalet is used as a backcountry ranger station and emergency shelter for hikers.

The chalet is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places -- if Mother Nature doesn't decide to intervene.



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