A 2-year federally funded Life Safety and Accessibility Project will begin October 2018. The $8 million Project will bring the Chateau up to Americans with Disability Act standards by installing an elevator, building an additional staircase and creating necessary ramps and other accommodations for visitors.
During the Project, the beloved National Historic Landmark will be closed to the public while renovations take place, including upgrading electrical and plumbing systems and making structural improvements.
The Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve (ORCA) will maintain a regular schedule during the renovation.
Of the three publicly-owned lodges in Oregon, Timberline and Crater Lake have both been restored. A “Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau” non-profit organization was formed in 2008 with the goal of working with the National Park Service (NPS) in the preservation, stewardship and improvement of ORCA and the 84-year-old Chateau.
The Friends group has already renovated a former employee dining room into a meeting and conference space. Travel Oregon, Ford Family Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, National Trust for Historic Preservation and individual donors helped fund the renovation. In addition, the Friends group will help fund installation of a 3-story balcony which was original to the Chateau, but was removed in 1958 after it became unsafe. Partial funding from the Cultural Advocacy Coalition (CAC) will help make this possible through the Oregon Legislature’s Centennial Funding Project utilizing lottery funds.
The Friends group also plans to raise nearly $5 million to complete and implement a Furnishings Plan to restore the 23 guest rooms, kitchen and lobby, and to restore the iconic Monterey Furniture Collection.
The public is invited to visit the Chateau during these final months prior to the 2-year closure. The Chateau has been managed by Oregon Caves Outfitters, a project of the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization (IVCanDO) for over 17 years.
Out of 9,000 tourism destinations, the Chateau was listed by Oregon Business Magazine as a “Top 100 Fan-Favorite Destination in Oregon” for both 2017 and 2018, the first 2 years of the competition. Rankings are determined by compiling over 22,000 online reviews from Trip Advisor, Yelp and Google.
In 2017, the Chateau served 27,000 meals and lodged 7,000 guests and will be open for business from May 3, through September 30 this year. Accommodations range from economy to suite. Limited handicap access is available. The charming 1930’s style Caves Café serves breakfast and lunch while the formal dining room offers expansive canyon views. Free live music events are listed at OregonCavesChateau.com. Call 541-592-3400 for reservations.
With the concession contract ending this November, it marks the end of 18 years of direct local community contributions to the management of the Chateau at the Oregon Caves National Monument and a great example of an era where partnership and collaboration have played a significant role in meeting Illinois Valley community development goals. Oregon Caves Outfitters is an Authorized Concessionaire of the National Park Service.
To learn more about Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau or make a tax-deductible donation to help fund renovations, visit FriendsOCAC.org.
Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is located 20 miles east of Cave Junction at the end of scenic Highway 46.
Tours take place April to November with special Candlelight and Off-Trail tours in summer. Summer visitors are encouraged to arrive early in the day to avoid long waits.
Visit nps.gov/orca for information or Recreation.gov for tour reservations.