OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — A report summarizing some 1,400 comments on four proposed alternatives for the Enchanted Valley chalet is available now.
The Olympic National Park report, which was released Monday, can be found at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-chaletcomments.
Public comment was taken through Aug. 31 on the possible alternatives for the permanent fate of the remote chalet located 13 miles from the nearest road, deep within the Olympic wilderness.
The chalet was moved back from a precarious position near the East Fork Quinault River using helicopters and mules in September 2014.
The preliminary alternatives for the chalet’s future are:
• Leave the chalet where it is now and keep it closed to the public.
• Build it a new foundation. It would remain closed to the public.
• Tear it down and either leave some of the sill logs so the public can see the remains of the building or remove the materials and perhaps reuse them.
• Relocate the chalet to another place within Enchanted Valley.
Among the comments were suggestions that the structure be removed using hand tools, pack stock and backpacks to the extent practicable, avoiding the use of helicopters, and that the structure be moved from the wilderness to a front-country site such as a visitor center or even outside the park’s boundaries.
Others suggested that modifications be made to the landscape to protect the chalet within Enchanted Valley, while others recommended it be restored and used as a lodge, ranger station or some other facility.
Some suggested it just be burned.
Comments will be taken into consideration as park officials create a draft environmental assessment, which is expected to be ready for public review by next spring.
A final plan is to be issued next summer, park officials said.
The chalet was constructed by Quinault Valley residents in the early 1930s, prior to the establishment of Olympic National Park.
It served as a backcountry lodge for several decades and more recently as a wilderness ranger station and emergency shelter. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
The chalet is located on the active floodplain of the East Fork Quinault River, where migration of the river’s channel is common. In January 2014, the river had migrated to within 18 inches of the chalet.
The environmental assessment now under development is the second of two recent planning processes for the chalet.
The first, completed in 2014, was for emergency action to temporarily relocate the chalet. That work was done to protect the East Fork Quinault River, said Barb Maynes, park spokeswoman.
Planning is now in progress for the final disposition of the structure.
More information can be found at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-chaletplanning.