Ranch Life and the Randolph Guard Station
Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Utah, 1998
by Doug Veeder, PIT Volunteer
On July 13, 1998, a group of eager PIT volunteers and FS personnel arrived at Randolph Guard Station in northeastern Utah. Volunteers included Myrleen Healy, J. E. “Buddy” Smith, Liz Smith, Lanny Hathaway, and Doug Veeder. Their fearless leaders were Charmaine Thompson, Shaun Nelson, and Max Healy from the FS’s Heritage Program. Local FS staff from the Ogden Ranger District—Morgan Jackson, Curtis Nicholls, and Brian Bachtel—also helped when they could.
Most of our work involved using heat guns to strip old paint from the historic guard station. By the end of the project, we considered ourselves experienced strippers! Half the house and part of the garage were prepared for later volunteer painters. The crew also replaced a large area of damaged siding.
When renovations are completed, the guard station will house guests of Bear Valley Working Ranches, a rural economic development project designed to introduce participants to modern ranching and its historical context. The PIT project participants also served as the initial guests, and provided enthusiastic feedback to the developers.
Activities included a walking tour of the little town of Randolph, a dutch-oven cookout beside a mountain stream with entertainment from a picking and singing cowboy poet, hay storage demonstrations (with hands-on participation from the group!), and a campfire program with a local family whose history runs deep in the valley. There were also chances to scratch the heads of steers, ride rope-and-barrel bulls, and have discussions about crops, marketing, rural living, and the future of ranching. Heidi Weston and her family impressed everyone with their enthusiasm. The PIT participants described their personal interactions with the Randolph residents as the highlight of their experience. None, however, plans to continue their budding careers as strippers.