Enchanted Valley Chalet survival comes down to funds
Support to save the Enchanted Valley Chalet continues within the Olympic National Park, but officials say it’s not that simple.
Jeff Monroe, owner of Monroe House Moving, had told the park that he would be able to move the chalet away from the Quinault River as it continues to cut away the ground beneath the historic building.
“My plan is set,” he told the Peninsula Daily News, “All I need is a helicopter.”
A four-foot section of the structure in the heart of Olympic National Park was undercut by the East Fork of the Quinault River last winter.
Monroe hiked to the remote cabin last week to devise a plan to lift the building onto a temporary track and move it 592 feet to a patch of high ground within a week.
Olympic National Park officials said that it’s not that simple.
Park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said there are several other factors at play, not the least of which is money.
“Right now, the park does not have the funding available to take action, not without cutting programs and services this coming summer,” Maynes said to Peninsula Daily News.
With volunteer support from the Back County Horsemen of Washington and others interested in preserving the chalet, Monroe estimated that he could move the building for $40,000, not including a helicopter for moving supplies.
Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum has said it would cost somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million to deconstruct the chalet and rebuild it someplace else.
Park officials say Monroe’s proposal would cost a lot more than $40,000, although Maynes would not provide the official estimate for moving the chalet away from the river’s edge.
“The bottom line is there are some key elements of the work that would need to be done that are not included in Mr. Monroe’s estimate, primarily helicopter time, but there are other factors as well,” Maynes said.
Park crews have already removed equipment, supplies, hazardous materials and windows from the chalet to protect downstream resources while preserving elements of its historic significance.
A series of winter storms moved the main channel by at least 15 feet last winter. The river has since receded to normal levels, leaving the chalet high and dry.
“It’s very stable,” Monroe said.
“It’s not in danger of going into the river.”
Moore said the Enchanted Valley Chalet has been nominated for inclusion on the trust’s Most Endangered Historic Properties List.
The official list will be announced in May.