La Wis Wis GS Rehab, Part VII 2018 - Passport in Time

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Washington - Gifford-Pinchot NF
Closed! La Wis Wis Guard Station Rehabilitation, Part VII By Walter Siegmund (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
From Packwood, Mount Rainier and Butter Creek Canyon dominate the view to the north

April 23-27; May 21-25, 2018

Must commit to one entire session; may participate in both

Come on back to the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest for Part VII of the La Wis Wis Guard Station PIT project! The La Wis Wis Guard Station cabin was built in 1937, and is an important piece of Gifford-Pinchot NF history; it is one of only two structures of its design in the region. The cabin is situated in the beautiful La Wis Wis Campgrounds, just off US Highway 12 in the Cascade Mountains, near the southern entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. Old-growth cedar and Douglas fir tower overhead, and the Ohanapecosh River and Clear Fork of the Cowlitz River create an idyllic setting. Three separate Wilderness areas are also in the immediate vicinity. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), and constructed as a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) works project. The 25’x32’ guard station embodies the distinctive characteristics of the Northwest “Rustic” style, typical of Forest Service, Depression-era architecture. This style design incorporates horizontal cedar siding, a tall gable roof with board-and-batten gable ends, exterior stone chimney, and distinctive multi-light windows. The cabin was used as an administrative residence until it went into disuse in the 1990s. Since then, it has been subject to water damage and moisture problems.

The La Wis Wis Guard Station PIT project began in 2012 as the first part of a multi-year restoration and rehabilitation effort to prepare the cabin for future use. That year, project team members undertook a variety of activities including the replacement of roofing material, repair of the interior flooring, and repair of foundation components. In 2013, we removed the damaged original, knotty pine, tongue-and-groove wall paneling to prep for rehab, removed the old wiring and plumbing, and repaired the flooring. In 2014 and 2015, the knotty pine wall paneling was stripped of non-original paint and refinished. The paneling was then re-installed in the guard station and we undertook further interior work, including plumbing and electrical. Continuing in 2016, we reproduced in-kind trim and moldings, installed additional wall paneling, and did window rehabilitation. In 2017 we followed up with repair and rehabilitation of the kitchen cabinets and countertop, reproduced an in-kind door casing and door and during the second session that year, painted the kitchen interior, re-glazed window panes, installed the door and other associated hardware, and installed kitchen roof and wall panels.

During the 2018 project, volunteers will continue restoration and rehabilitation efforts according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Restoration and Rehabilitation. Two sessions are planned, each lasting five days in duration.

Session 1 will involve rehabilitation of lighting fixtures, repair of interior doors, reproduction of one exterior door, and creation of additional trim. All restoration work will occur off-site inside the shop and warehouse at the nearby Randle Work Center, whose buildings were also constructed by the CCC, and are likewise listed on the NRHP.

During Session 2, all work will be done on-site at La Wis Wis Guard Station. This phase of the project will include further installation of interior wall paneling and ceiling panels, and we will install the doors, thresholds, and associated hardware completed during Session 1. We plan to paint the bathroom, hallway and stairwell, as well as remove plaster located on the kitchen chimney. We also plan to install the trim created in Session 1, and we’ll apply a finishing coat on the living room pine wall paneling.

We certainly have our work cut out for us in the on-going effort to preserve this unique and rare historical property. The project and its participants have added to the storied local history of La Wis Wis Guard Station and returning the guard station to a usable state is well within sight! We will continue this tradition and dedication in 2018 – we hope you will join us in the effort to put this incredible historic resource back into use!

Number of openings: 9 (4 for Session 1; 5 for Session 2)

Special skills: Volunteers must be physically capable of repetitive motions such as bending, lifting, kneeling, stooping, etc. for extended periods each day, and must prepare for a variety of weather conditions; previous carpentry, painting, refinishing, construction, and/or historic building restoration experience helpful and preferred, but not required

Minimum age: 18 years old

Facilities: Session 1: Onsite FS bunkhouse accommodations available at no charge; full kitchen and bathroom facilities

Session 2: Onsite tent and RV camping provided at no charge at La Wis Wis Campground; water, vault toilets, picnic area; no hookups; other camping options available in the greater area at volunteer expense

Randle, Packwood, and Morton are full-service communities with motels/lodges, B&Bs, restaurants, and a range of other amenities; volunteers responsible for own lodging/personal camping equipment during Session 2 (or if opting not to stay in FS bunkhouse during Session 1), food, and transportation

Nearest towns: Session 1: Project based in Randle; Morton, 16 miles; Morton, 39 miles

Session 2: Project based at La Wis Wis Campground; Packwood, 15 miles; Randle, 23 miles; Morton, 39 miles

Applications due: March 5, 2018

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