September 10, 2012 was a sad day for the Mt. Adams Ranger District and Gifford Pinchot National Forest as a fire destroyed the historic Peterson Prairie Guard Station. The 86 year-old structure was a public favorite that was available for rent for those seeking a rustic, out-of-doors adventure.
But the Forest Service will not allow the loss to go without response. It recently unveiled plans to move another historic structure to the site. “We’re trying to make something good out of an unfortunate situation. While the Peterson Prairie Guard Station is lost forever, we can save another historic structure that was slated for demolition. By moving and restoring the Willard Tool Shop, we will preserve a piece of American history and replace a rental option that allows the public a unique way to experience the national forest”, said Nancy Ryke, Mt. Adams District ranger.
The project will occur in stages beginning this spring with the on-site restoration of the Willard Tool Shop at its current location. The next step, which could happen as early as this fall, will involve moving the building 20 miles to the Peterson Prairie site. The final stage will involve the construction of a new foundation and finish carpentry work. The estimated finish date is 2015.
Nearly 1/3 of the $75,000 budget has been secured. Mt. Adams Institute, a non-profit partner of the Forest Service, has come on board to help raise additional funding for the project. “The Institute is excited to offer its services to the project. The old guard station allowed many people to explore the forest. We want to help bring that option back”, said Brendan Norman, Mt. Adams Institute Executive Director. Donations of materials and money can be given through the Mt. Adams Institute website
Read the Forest Service’s press release about the project.