Lake McDonald Lodge Restoration Project
Meadowlark Log Homes and the National Park Service
In recent years, the National Park Service has embarked on a process of renovating and updating many of the beautiful lodges and other structures in Glacier National Park. These historic lodges are nostalgic reminders of our past and a wonderful place to visit and stay in.
In 2015, through Xanterra Parks and Resorts, Meadowlark Log Homes was chosen to remove all of the exterior railings on Lake McDonald Lodge and replace it with new cedar railing.
There were some challenges associated with replacing the railings. First, Meadowlark Log Homes had to choose the same species of material, which was cedar. Next, great care was taken so that every piece of railing and spindles and posts were individually shaped and fit as closely to the original as possible. This required days and weeks of meticulous carving, trimming and fitting by Meadowlark's craftsmen to insure that the look of the finished product was as nearly identical to the original as possible. While some of the tools we used were modern, some of them were handtools very likely similar to what was used in the original construction.
Finally, a lead free, durable and environmentally friendly brown acrylic paint was used to cover all of the new product to protect them from weather and to match the original paint of the railings and the lodge.
The railing replacement project was completed in time for Spring 2016 opening day of Glacier Park.
View the photos and video of the project below
In late 2016, Meadowlark began a process of replacing most of the exterior cedar posts and supports and decorative pieces on the exterior of Lake McDonald Lodge. The first step was to secure all of the cedar logs required for replacement.
During the fall and winter the cedar was harvested using a method of extracting one tree and one piece of log out of the woods at a time so that the bark would not be damaged. All of the logging was done using sustainable and environmentally careful harvesting methods so that the woods were in better condition than before. The thinning process allowed the forest to be improved upon, much like pulling unwanted weeds out of your garden. In this case our logger didn't pull weeds, but rather selected premium pieces one by one. Some of the logging and harvesting was done during snow and frozen ground for minimum disturbance.
Now that our craftsmen had the materials, they first removed each rotted and decaying post and some of the support beams and one by one replaced them with fresh new cedar logs. Great care was taken to keep the bark intact without damage and to fit every piece back in just like it was originally. We worked during the coldest weather to try and get as much done as we could before warm weather because then the bark becomes more vulnerable to damage. The deep snow surrounding the lodge also assisted us in preventing damage to the lawn and grounds as logs and equipment were being moved around.
We are happy to report that all of the exterior cedar log replacement was completed in time for Glacier Park's opening day in Spring 2017.