Rebuilding Sperry is a marvel, even in modern times

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The logistics of rebuilding the Sperry Chalet dormitory on a stone bluff high up in Glacier National Park are perhaps not as daunting as they were when the original chalet opened in 1913. After all, construction workers have the benefit of power tools and other modern amenities these days.

But still, it’s a marvel to see the chalet taking shape as construction workers work at a brisk pace to complete the rebuild by fall. These cannot be easy days for the workers who are toiling eight days straight, in 10-hour shifts, before hiking the 6-plus miles out for six days off.

Getting supplies and building materials to the worksite is done with mule trains, just like the days of yore, but helicopters bear some of the load this time around.

This is a special workforce that has a hand in rebuilding an important piece of Glacier Park history. And the views that surround the construction site won’t soon be forgotten by these workers.

The Sperry Chalet dormitory was nearly destroyed in the 2017 Sprague Fire, and to think the rebuild is on track to be completed by Oct. 1 is another marvel. Our hats are off to the Glacier National Park Conservancy, which has taken the lead in fundraising for this extraordinary public-private partnership.

Another construction project of note is taking place in the Swan Valley, where Allen and Linda Erickson, the tireless founders and operators of the nonprofit Northwest Montana Veterans Stand Down and Food Pantry, are transforming the former Swan Lake Correctional Center into Camp Ponderosa Veterans Retreat and Learning Center.

An anonymous donor recently injected $150,000 into the project, giving it the financial momentum needed to continue upgrading the facilities and establishing programs and services for veterans.

Camp Ponderosa still needs help, though, from volunteers and people who can provide in-kind contributions such as a commercial dishwasher and heating systems. If you can lend a hand or a few bucks, call the Northwest Montana Veterans food Pantry at 406-756-7304.

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