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Sequim business earns contract to move Enchanted Valley Chalet

Olympic National Park’s Enchanted Valley Chalet is expected to be temporarily moved in September. Recent photos show the shifting East Fork Quinault River is undercutting the chalet by about eight feet.  - Photo courtesy of Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park’s Enchanted Valley Chalet is expected to be temporarily moved in September. Recent photos show the shifting East Fork Quinault River is undercutting the chalet by about eight feet.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Olympic National Park

A contract to temporarily relocate the Enchanted Valley Chalet was awarded to Monroe House Moving, Inc. of Sequim, Olympic National Park sources announced last week.

The award amount is $124,000. The move tentatively is scheduled for the first two weeks of September, as long as weather, visibility and trail conditions allow, park sources said.

Once all materials and personnel are onsite, moving the building will take about one week to complete.

The contract includes all necessary labor, supervision, equipment and transportation by either foot or pack mule, park sources said.

In addition, the National Park Service will provide helicopter transport for equipment and materials that are too large or heavy to be carried by humans or pack stock.

Onsite contract oversight will be provided by park service staff.

Monroe House Moving, Inc. will move the Enchanted Valley Chalet 50 to 100 feet from its current location, where it is undercut and in danger of collapsing into the East Fork Quinault River. Threats to natural and wilderness resources posed by the structure collapsing into the river warrant temporary relocation of the building, park sources said.

In addition, preventing the chalet from imminent collapse will allow time to examine and plan for the long-term future of the structure, sources said.

“Visitor, employee and contractor safety is paramount as we prepare for temporary relocation of the chalet,” Olympic National Park superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said.

“While we will strive to provide day-use and through-hiker access, the Enchanted Valley will be closed for overnight camping for up to two weeks while the project is ongoing,” she said.

In addition to the camping closure in Enchanted Valley, the Graves Creek Stock Camp will be closed for the duration of the project.

The Enchanted Valley Chalet is located 13 miles from the nearest road, deep within the Olympic Wilderness. The chalet was constructed by Quinault Valley residents in the early 1930s, prior to the establishment of Olympic National Park.

The chalet served for several decades as a backcountry lodge and more recently, as a wilderness ranger station and emergency shelter.

The chalet was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Photos shared by park visitors in early January showed that the main channel of the East Fork Quinault River had migrated to within 18 inches of the 1930s-era chalet.

Last winter’s storms and high flows resulted in the Quinault’s main channel continuing to shift by at least 15 feet.

Migration of the East Fork Quinault’s channel is common in the loose, unconsolidated soils of Enchanted Valley. Storms, fallen trees, rockslides and simply the constant process of erosion can all cause the river to shift and carve a new channel.

 

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