In the Routt National Forest just north of Columbine, there's a dark wood cabin with stories stored in its four walls.
The cabin, called the Summit Creek Guard Station, was built in 1912. Rangers would live in the house with their families for the summer, patrolling the area and keeping an eye on the forest.
The ranger on duty had more to do than direct lost hikers.
They would watch for forest fires, ensure loggers had permits and check that cattle and sheep grazing on the land were permitted, said Joanne Sanfilippo, Heritage Program manager for the Routt National Forest.
"It was difficult because it would just be a lone guy out there, and sometimes the rancher wouldn't appreciate that they all of a sudden had to deal with the Forest Service," she said.
The guard station has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Historic Routt County and the U.S. Forest Service are asking for volunteers to help restore and keep the cabin in good condition.
On Sept. 13 and 14, volunteers will replace the mortar between the cabin's logs. Work will begin at 9 a.m. each day, and lunch will be provided.
A historical preservation contractor, a forest archaeologist and other experts will lead the work and teach volunteers how to re-place the mortar.
The mortar consists of sand, a small bit of cement and lime. Unlike cement, mortar can ex-pand and contract with logs, which is important in older buildings. If cement was used, the building's walls could end up breaking, Sanfilippo said.
Once the cabin is fixed, the Forest Service plans to rent the cabin for weeks and weekends throughout the year.
People could have a plush camping trip in the summer, or ski to a snowbound cabin in the winter.
The cabin has a large kitchen with running water, a wood stove and two bedrooms with bunk beds and a queen-sized bed. It could sleep up to 10 people, Sanfilippo said.
For people who want to spend a day or two in the woods and contribute to a piece of Routt County's history, helping out with the Summit Creek Guard Station could be a good weekend activity.
To sign up to volunteer, call Sanfilippo at 870-2210.
-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203
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