Glacier Park historic cabin program gets a final green light

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One of the cabins at the Greve’s Motor Camp.

The Park Service earlier this month signed off on a plan that could allow members of the public and in some cases, concessionaires, to rent an historic cabin on Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, provided they’re willing to invest in fixing up the property.

The Park Service found that there was no significant impact from the program.

Glacier officials previously s identified seven properties that could be included in the program, including the Wheeler Cabin, Greve’s Tourist Camp, the Grisley Property, the Moberly Property, and the Fox Henderson Property.

Some properties in the original environmental assessment however are already lost. The Kelly’s Camp cabin burned down in the Howe Ridge Fire and several cabins at the Wheeler property were also destroyed by the blaze, though the main cabin remains.

Some properties have more than one cabin and most of the properties are either eligible or are already listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

All of the properties, at one time or another, were privately owned and, over the years, the Park Service has acquired them.

The Park came up with the idea of long-term leases on the properties as a way to preserve them and their historic character a few years ago.

Condition assessments need to be conducted so appropriate lease dollar amounts and other lease requirements can be developed before cabins could be leased to private individuals.

The park also needs to set up the historic leasing program including management and oversight. Those two items will likely take at least two years before people could expect to see any leasing opportunities advertised.

Many of the cabins would need significant upgrades to be inhabitable. In addition, any work that’s done would have to meet historic renovation standards.

Under the plan, the properties could not be sublet with no vacation rentals, though three properties — The Moberly, Fox Henderson and Grisley properties would be available to an interested concessioner if a standard lease is not in place.

Some of the properties have outstanding views of the high peaks surrounding the Park.

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