A new option, to relocate the Enchanted Valley Chalet, has been added to those under consideration by staff at Olympic National Park.
The park announced the additional option Tuesday, citing public comments received during public meetings and those submitted as the park develops an environmental assessment.
The park is considering options for the future of the chalet that almost fell into the East Fork Quinault River as the river eroded the bank on which the building sat. Located 13 miles from the nearest road, the building is within a wilderness area.
In September 2014, the park hired contractor Jeff Monroe of Carlsborg, Washington, and his crew used mules to moved the building about 100 feet from the river.
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In June, the park announced it would use the environmental assessment process to decide the future of the building.
At that time, three alternatives were proposed: leave the building in place where it now sits; dismantling the building and potentially removing it from the valley; and taking no action, an alternative required by law.
But after holding several public meetings around the Olympic Peninsula, the park announced the alternative of moving farther from the river.
“We are in the very early stages of developing an environmental assessment for the long term future of the Enchanted Valley Chalet,” acting park Superintendent Lee Taylor said in a prepared statement. “We began this public comment period by asking people to reflect on several draft alternative concepts and to provide additional ideas for us to consider.”
“Thanks to public input we’ve received so far, we’ve added another draft alternative to the list of ideas we’re asking people to consider,” Taylor added.
That is good news to Rod Farlee, who earlier this month hiked back to the chalet with Monroe and Brian Turner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He is the vice president of Friends of Olympic National Park.
“We inspected the chalet inside and out. It is in excellent condition,” Farlee said by email.
He said the river has returned to its older, deeper channel about 100 yards from the chalet.
Farlee said he and Monroe identified two new locations, about 400 feet away from where the building now sits. Both locations would place the building on a more solid footing, while keeping it out of the path of past avalanches.
The disadvantage, he said, is both sites would preclude the availability of water.
The state Historic Preservation Office also has come out against any alternatives that do not preserve the building.
“We do not want to see the chalet demolished. That’s not an acceptable option,” Director Allyson Brooks told The Daily World, Aberdeen. “We want the National Park Service to fulfill its obligation mandated in section 110 of the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act to preserve the structure.”
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Learn more: You can get more information, including the purpose and need for the plan, and preliminary alternatives developed so far, at parkplanning.nps.gov/EVCscoping.
To comment: The public comment period runs through Aug. 31. Comments and ideas can be submitted at the website, or in writing to Superintendent, Olympic National Park, 600 E. Park Avenue, Port Angeles, WA 98362.