Enchanted Valley Chalet
Status: Most Endangered Places
Year Listed: 2014
Location: Olympic National Park
Located in the heart of Olympic National Park, the 2 1/2-story, hand-hewn, dovetail-notched log structure is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its association with the recreational development of the wild and remote interior of the Olympic Mountains. The Olympic Recreation Company completed the chalet in 1931, operating it as seasonal wilderness lodging. Purchased by the National Park Service in 1953, it was open to the public and served as a ranger station until it was closed in 2013 due to limited maintenance and vandalism.
The Chalet is the last structure of its type within the park’s interior. Flooding events and changes in the flow of the Quinault River caused bank erosion, leaving a portion of the chalet cantilevered over the riverbank. The Chalet was nominated as a Most Endangered Place in 2014 and in September of that year, the building was successfully moved 100 feet from the bank of the river. The Chalet was not given a permanent foundation and is currently still sitting on the steel beams used to move it back in 2014.
Unfortunately, the Quinault River has continued to move in the valley and as of March 2019, the river bank has once again eroded to within approximately 5 feet of the Chalet.
In May 2020, National Park Service released an environmental assessment about the future of the Enchanted Valley Chalet which recommends that the building be dismantled and removed from the Valley. Olympic National Park staff hosted a virtual public meeting on July 15 and shared what they are planning, answered questions, and provided information about the process. They are accepting further public comment on the assessment until this Monday, August 31. The meeting, along with additional documents and a link to comment, can be found on the project planning website.
Join the conversation
Comment deadline August 31!
Submit your comments about the Enchanted Valley Chalet by Monday, August 31! In reviewing the environmental assessment, it is clear that the National Park Service is not adequately addressing their responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act. Submit your comments by Monday to let them know:
• You support “Alternative C” which is to move the Chalet to a location near the Enchanted Valley wall, farther away from the Quinault River, and give it a permanent foundation.
• The environmental assessment document did not properly address the purpose and application of the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Park Service’s obligations to follow it.
Please note: The National Park Service has provided guidance that they would only like to receive “substantive comments” that address inaccuracies or improper analysis in the environmental assessment document or that present reasonable alternatives that are not covered in the document.
If you want a quick primer on the situation, Olympic National Park has released a Frequently Asked Questions document about their assessment. If you want a deep dive, you can read the entire environmental assessment document.
We will continue to keep you updated on this important and unique piece of Washington history!