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ONP’s Enchanted Valley Chalet Moving, Temporarily

Olympic National Park has begun work to move the Enchanted Valley Chalet. During the two-week project, hikers should be aware of a few restrictions in the area. The move is a temporary measure to protect the chalet, which has been threatened by a change in course of the valley's East Fork of the Quinault River.

Olympic National Park has begun work to move the Enchanted Valley Chalet. During the two-week project, hikers should be aware of a few restrictions in the area. The move is a temporary measure to protect the chalet, which has been threatened by a change in course of the valley's East Fork of the Quinault River.

Hiker, backcountry camping restrictions

From the park's news release:

  • To protect contractor and visitor safety, Enchanted Valley will be closed to all public camping for the duration of the project, September 1 through 14.
  • Hikers and stock users may continue to travel through the valley, but between September 1 and September 14, must be escorted by park staff.
  • The camping closure and escort-only hiking restriction extends from the steel bridge at the downstream end of Enchanted Valley (mile 13 on the East Fork Quinault River Trail) to one mile upriver of the chalet.

A fast-tracked environmental analysis

Last month, Olympic National Park expedited an Environmental Analysis and came away with a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from the National Park Service Pacific Northwest Regional director. The signed FONSI was the last hurdle before the safe move of the chalet.

"To avoid immediate environmental harm to the East Fork Quinault River and risks to threatened bull trout and other aquatic resources, it is imperative that the chalet be moved away from the river bank before the fall rains begin," said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. "A second and more extensive planning and public review process will begin later this year, and will examine options for long-term disposition of the historic chalet."

A brief history of the Enchanted Valley Chalet

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the chalet was built in 1930-31 by the Olympic Recreation Company for use as a mountain retreat by weary hikers and horseback riders. During World War II the chalet was briefly used as an Aircraft Warning Station. The chalet is currently used as an emergency shelter and ranger station. The East Fork Quinault River Trail is one of the most popular trails on the southeast portion of the park and hundreds of hikers visit Enchanted Valley to take in the tremendous views and see the chalet each year.

In a letter to park officials, WTA stated its support of the park’s efforts to protect the river by temporarily moving the chalet. WTA also asked that impacts on hiker access to the Enchanted Valley be kept at a minimum during the busy summer hiking season.

Read more about the Enchanted Valley Chalet move on ONP's website.

Comments

Had to make alternate plans

I knew they were going to move it but did not know when. My mistake since my plan was to camp in the valley this week. I had to make alternate plans with my nephew coming out from east coast to hike and camp here after Labor Day. It's still nice to see them saving it and I will try it next year. Alpine Lakes Wilderness here I come.

Posted by:


Mike on Sep 04, 2014 02:56 PM

Worth the trek

Was just up there yesterday. Totally worth the 28-mile in-n-out. Chalet is supposed to be jacked up today, and the move will begin in short order.

Posted by:


kepPNW on Sep 06, 2014 02:55 PM