Park formally releases plan for utilities to Kelly’s Camp in Glacier

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One of the few remaining cabins at Kelly’s Camp after the 2018 fires. (File photo/Chris Peterson/Hungry Horse News)

Glacier National Park has formally announced that it intends to allow the extension of electric and telephone service to Kelly’s Camp in Glacier National Park.

The private camp off the North Lake McDonald Road was razed by the Howe Ridge Fire last summer. All but a few of the private residences burned to the ground and the landowners are planning to rebuild this summer.

Flathead Electric would install an underground single phase primary 7,200 volt power cable and conduit at a depth of up to 52 inches for approximately 13,000 feet. About 94 percent would be installed along the North McDonald Road in the ditch line, 3 percent along other park roadways and 3 percent on private property. About 40 concrete vaults would be installed along the road for pull points, cabinets and transformers. Telephone line would be laid in the same trench. This would provide power and restore telephone to 14 private parcels at Kelly’s Camp, the Park said in a document released Friday.

The landowners will pay for the extension. Utilities currently end at the Wheeler Cabin.

There are currently 14 landowners in that area. Kelly’s Camp was originally built by Frank and Emmeline Kelly in 1894. In the 1920s, the Kellys developed a cabin resort for the increasing park visitor traffic through the McDonald Valley.

The camp used to be served by a hydroelectric facility in a nearby creek. That will be removed and the creek restored to allow fish passage.

The park will examine the excavation as it occurs for signs of any archeological artifacts, if there are any.

The park has determined that the project could be categorically excluded and would not require the preparation of an environmental assessment. Public scoping is being conducted to determine if there is any new information or additional concerns that the park is not aware of that might result in the need for an EA. To comment, visit the Park Service planning page at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?parkId=61&projectID=86663.

Comments will be taken until April 1.

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