Work to move Enchanted Valley Chalet set for September

A contract to temporarily relocate the remote Enchanted Valley Chalet has been awarded to Monroe House Moving Inc. of Sequim, the National Park Service announced Thursday.

The cost of the move is $124,000 and is tentatively scheduled for the first two weeks of September, as long as weather, visibility and trail conditions allow. Once all materials and personnel are on site, moving the building will take about one week to complete, the Park Service said.

The move is to protect both the historic building and the East Fork of the Quinault River. The river is slicing under the foundation of the historic chalet, built by Quinault Valley residents in 1930, the park service said, exposing the waterway to debris from the deteriorating building. State historic preservation officials have also urged that the chalet, beloved by hikers and nature lovers in the region, be saved.

“We are delighted that the chalet is being saved, and look forward to working with (the Park Service) and the local community on a permanent solution so the chalet will remain an icon for future generations,” State Historic Preservation Officer Allyson Brooks said Thursday. The chalet was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

The moving contract includes all necessary labor, supervision, equipment and transportation by either foot or pack mule. In addition, the Park Service will provide helicopter transport for equipment and materials that are too large or heavy to be packed in. The contractor will move the chalet a distance of 50 to 100 feet from its current location.

Preventing the chalet from imminent collapse will allow time to examine and plan for the long-term future of the structure, the Park Service said.

“Visitor, employee and contractor safety is paramount,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “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.”

The Graves Creek Stock Camp will also be closed for the duration of the project. Additional details about hiker access to the East Fork Quinault Trail and Enchanted Valley are currently being developed and will be released when available, the Park Service said.

The chalet is 13 miles from the nearest road, deep within the wilderness. The chalet was constructed prior to establishment of the park, and has served for several decades as a back-country lodge and, more recently, as a wilderness ranger station and emergency shelter.

Photos shared by park visitors in early January showed that the main channel of the river had migrated to within 18 inches of the chalet. Winter storms and high flows further shifted the Quinault’s main channel. Recent photographs show the river has undercut the chalet by approximately eight feet.

The Park Service removed the windows earlier this year, sparking concern by preservationists, hikers and nature lovers that the chalet would be allowed to fall into the river. Supporters called for the chalet to be saved. Jeff Monroe, who owns the moving company, offered earlier this year to help the Park Service move the chalet out of harm’s way before winter storms threaten it again.

The Park Service has been working with preservationists and other stakeholders to reach a solution and examined several options, including the offer to relocate the chalet temporarily.

Reporter Erin Hart contributed to this article.


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