Frontcountry Management Plan - A Renewed Vision for Bartlett Cove

a map of Bartlett Cove Alaska showing campground on the left, hiking trail, Glacier Bay Lodge, dock area, visitor information, Huna Tribal House, and park headquarters.


The frontcountry area of Glacier Bay National Park supports visitor services, including the Glacier Bay Lodge, and the core administrative operations and facilities for the park. The frontcountry is distinct from the backcountry areas of the park that encompass more than 2.6 million acres of designated Wilderness.

Although serving as the primary developed portion of the park (see map above) Bartlett Cove is remote, accessible only by water, air, and local roads. The closest gateway communities include Gustavus (around 9 miles away by road) and Hoonah (around 30 miles away by water or air).

This plan guides management for the frontcountry area of Glacier Bay National Park, including specific to visitor experiences, facilities, and services, day-to-day NPS decisions and activities.

Specific components of the Frontcountry Management Plan include:

For further information, or to be added to a mailing list to receive Frontcountry Management Plan implementation updates and notices for tiered public input (as conceptual actions are more defined and refined) please e-mail us.

The full document (28.4 MB, PDF) and more background is available on the NPS Planning, Environment & Public Comment website (

Brown wooden dorm buildings and parking lot
Glacier Bay Lodge Concessioner Employee Housing

NPS Photo

New Lodge Concessioner Housing

Construction Expected to Begin Mid-April 2023

Funded by the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve recently awarded an approximately $16.7 million construction contract to replace concession housing at Bartlett Cove. The project will demolish three existing outdated dorms and replace them with one building that will lower operation and maintenance costs and provide a safe, accessible, and energy efficient living space for the concession staff who provide essential services for park visitors.

"We are excited that we will be able to provide better accommodations for the concession employees who serve park visitors by replacing this critical piece of our infrastructure," said Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Superintendent Philip Hooge. "The project is also a significant step toward restoring the character of the Glacier Bay Lodge Historic District.”

The facility is a key part of the park visitor services complex which includes the historic Glacier Bay Lodge and the Bartlett Cove dock. The existing concessions housing facilities, containing a total of 32 rooms, are undersized for their typical staffing of around 60 employees. The other existing employee housing is in poor condition. As a result, some concession employees have been housed in cabins intended for use by park visitors. The project will enable the cabins to be repurposed for visitor use. The new dorm buildings will have a larger capacity and will meet current safety, fire, and accessibility standards. In addition, a non-historic service building within the historic setting will be demolished and the administrative and maintenance operations will be relocated to a structure outside of the historic area which will allow for more visitor-centered activities in the space. This construction project will eliminate over $4.7 million in deferred maintenance and repairs associated with these facilities.

The Glacier Bay Lodge Historic District is centered around the lodge, which was constructed in 1966. Located approximately nine miles from the rural town of Gustavus, this front-country development is a destination for park visitors and provides a wide range of public services for backcountry campers, marine vessel operators, day tour passengers embarking at Bartlett Cove, and other visitors. The lodge offers the only in-park overnight accommodations as well as food service and amenities for visitors. The facility hosts approximately 30,000 visitors per year through the main lodge and guest services, as well as with the associated guest rooms.

The construction contract was awarded to Ahtna, an Alaskan Native Regional Corporation, and the Unit Company. On-site work is expected to begin in mid-April. No service interruptions or facility closures are expected during this project because the new facility will be constructed adjacent to the existing structures before they are demolished.

Infrastructure funding from GAOA and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is part of a concerted effort to address the extensive deferred maintenance and repair backlog in national parks. Supported by revenue from energy development, GAOA's Legacy Restoration Fund provides up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to the National Park Service to make significant enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors.

Last updated: March 14, 2023

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Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826


907 697-2230

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