Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) Signed for Removal of Roberts Cabin on Lake McDonald
Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406 888-7895
Contact: Mary Riddle, 406 888-7898
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park officials announce that the environmental review process has been completed for the proposed removal of the Roberts Cabin on Lake McDonald. The Finding of No Significant Impact was signed by Intermountain Acting Regional Director Tony Schetzsle on October 23. The decision was reached after reviewing the environmental impacts and considering public comments on the environmental assessment released in July.
Park crews will begin removing the structure on October 29, 2007, and are expected to take up to four weeks to finish the job. Native vegetation will be planted on the site in the spring.
The cabin’s removal will reduce development on the northeast side of Lake McDonald and wildlife will be able to use the restored cabin site as habitat once again. Glacier National Park Superintendent Mick Holm stated, “The Roberts have been good neighbors and good stewards of the land since building the cabin in 1950. I am pleased that we are moving forward to fulfill Mary Agnes Roberts’ desire to see the cabin site returned to its natural condition. I know she has been anxiously awaiting this day.”
Mary Agnes Roberts sold the property to Glacier National Park in 1975, reserving a 25-year lease that ended in 2000. She sold the property to the National Park Service with the understanding that the building would be removed when the lease ended and the Lake McDonald shoreline property would be restored to its natural state.
While the park normally strives to protect and preserve historic structures, in this case, the park would like to honor the understanding with the landowner to return the site to its natural state, there are no funds available for rehabilitation and the cabin is a safety hazard. Given the Roberts Cabin is a unique historic structure that contributes to the layout of Glacier Park Villa Sites Historic District and the adjacent Lake McDonald Lodge Historic District, the park collaborated with the State Historic Preservation Office to lessen the effects of the cabin’s removal. The Roberts Cabin has been documented with photographs and a scale plan and the adjacent historic Ewing cabin (currently used by the Artist-in-Residence Program) was painted and repaired. An interpretive wayside exhibit will also be installed in the park describing the recreational cabin era in the park for visitors.
Many long-term leases on private properties acquired by the park will be ending soon. The park plans to begin a comprehensive planning process that will explore alternatives for preserving representative building styles and historic periods of these acquired buildings.
The FONSI is available through the park’s planning Web site: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/parkHome.cfm?parkId=61.
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Did You Know?
Lake McDonald is the largest lake in the park with a length of 10 miles and a depth of 472 feet. The glacier that carved the Lake McDonald valley is estimated to have been around 2,200 feet thick.