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Contact: Philip N. Hooge, Ph.D., Superintendent, 907-697-2230
BARTLETT COVE, AK – Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is seeking public comment on an environmental assessment (EA) for a project that will replace employee housing used by the concessioner that operates the Glacier Bay Lodge. Public comment will be open from November 22 through December 21, 2021, for input on project alternatives intended to address overdue life and safety issues with the existing dorms, as well as boost the lodge’s economic viability by freeing up cabins for guest use.
An identified need in the park’s 2019 Frontcountry Management Plan, this dorm replacement project is funded by the Legacy Restoration Fund established by the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). The Act is a historic bipartisan piece of legislation signed in 2020 that addresses deferred maintenance, infrastructure improvement, and modernization needs on public lands managed by the National Park Service (NPS), as well as other select federal agencies. One of the goals of the Act is to address critical infrastructure projects that support continued preservation, accessibility, and enjoyment in national parks.
Though the park’s 2019 plan did include the concept of concessioner housing upgrades or replacement, it did not adequately address the significant advantages of shifting development away from the park road, necessitating this tiered Environmental Assessment (EA). The preferred alternative proposed in this EA will also help to move day-to-day lodge operational activities such as laundry, waste management, and vehicle staging, away from areas frequented by visitors, such as around the lodge, along the park road, and on the Forest Trail, a popular hiking trail that loops through the spruce and hemlock forest near the lodge. This alternative will also allow lodge operations to continue during the construction period, supporting economic recovery for the concessioner and the community following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lodge facilities are owned by the NPS and historically have been operated for visitors during the summer months by a private business partner under a concessions contract. As part of the lodge contract, the concessioner also operates a boat that provides daily trips into the bay for visitors to see the park’s glaciers, wildlife, and scenery. This dayboat activity is an economic anchor for the businesses involved in independent tourism in the gateway community of Gustavus and the daily Alaska Airlines jet service between Gustavus and Juneau.
An award-winning design, the lodge buildings and landscape are historically significant, as they were built as part of Mission 66, a nationwide program that addressed infrastructure needs in national parks in the ten years leading up to the 50th anniversary of the agency in 1966.
The public can review the EA from November 22 through December 21, 2021, at the NPS Park Planning website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/GLBA_ConcessionsHousing
Comments will be accepted in the following ways:
Preferred: Use the “Comment Now” button found under the Document List at the link above;
Email: e-mail us
Mail: Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, P.O. Box 140, Gustavus, AK 99826; all mailed comments must be postmarked by December 21, 2021.
Anyone can receive planning updates and furthear notifications of the park’s planning and compliance public review opportunities by sending a request to e-mail us
The 2019 Frontcountry Management Plan, featuring park management’s renewed vision for Bartlett Cove, is available on the park website: https://go.nps.gov/GLBA_FMP
Last updated: November 22, 2021