The short answer: LOTS.
What IS the Rossland Range Recreation Site? Readers who aren’t familiar with the Rec Site can find information about it at this link, including maps, history, pictures, and much more.
Recent days have seen helicopter delivery of materials to continue the refurbishment of the Old Glory Fire Lookout – roofers were busy applying fresh roofing to it, and a “fire-finder” table will help hikers identify the mountains they can see from the summit, rather than pin-pointing the location of forest fires as the fire-finder tables used to do in fire lookouts.
Materials were also delivered to the “Igloo” cabin site, for the new cabin. The original “Igloo” was an ambitious structure, but it didn’t function optimally. The volunteer builders are applying their experience-based learnings to the replacement version.
The chipboard sheathing of “Booty’s” cabin will be covered in due course, hopefully before the first snowfall; the exterior cladding order was slow to arrive, but it will be delivered thanks to Home Hardware’s delivery drivers and their adventurous route-finding to challenging locations.
The “Old Growth Trail” was initially just a rough route cleared through the forest for skiers to and from Lepsoe Basin; it has been improved by some volunteer chain-saw work -- and some skilled application of heavy machinery.
Volunteer builder Rob Richardson and his partner Sandra have been spending their summer building a new cabin to replace the rat-infested old “Eagle’s Nest” and hope to have it completed before the snow flies. The new “Eagle’s Nest” will not be the usual rectangle; Rob had a different vision for that location. He has also been doing some brush-trimming along the “Flying Mile.”
Other volunteers have been out splitting wood and filling woodsheds, packing out trash, sawing out blow-downs from trails and ski routes, and much more.
All the cabins are popular destinations. Hiking, trail-running or biking to them in the summer has become popular too, though they were originally intended only as winter day-use shelters for skiers, snowshoers, and even fat-bikers. The directors of Friends of the Rossland Range Society (FORRS), which is tasked with managing the Rec Site, considers the Rec Site and its network of trails, routes and cabins to be a vital part of our local health-maintenance system – it gets so many of us out there for exercise and fresh air.
How does all this happen?
The cabins in the Rossland Range Rec Site have all been built by volunteer labour. The materials to build “Lepsoe Basin Cabin” were funded by the Kootenay Mountaineering Club, and “Sunspot” was funded by an anonymous donor. Funding from the Forest Service Recreation branch has supplied materials and funding for others, including outhouses and several other improvements. Donors have been helpful, and FORRS has obtained grants for some of the work done, and that’s a good thing – because this recreation area is free to use, but it’s not free to supply and maintain. (For a list of donors, click this link to the FORRS sponsors and donors page.)
Puzzled-looking people have sometimes been seen by the parking lot. Helpful locals have asked them if they need help. They answered, “I can’t find where you’re supposed to pay. Where do we pay?” When told that using the trails and cabins is free, they were amazed. Some wanted to make donations, so we’ll get to that – read on.
The volunteer work is supplied free, as long as volunteers go out to have fun – but materials, signage, maps, snow-plowing so people can park in a parking lot instead of creating life-threatening conditions by parking along the highway, and some glading work through dense thickets – all cost money, and the expenses will be on-going. If you enjoy the Rec Site and aren’t able to help by volunteering your time and energy to help keep things wonderful, and if you’d like to contribute a bit of money to help it along, you will get a tax receipt for any donation of $20 or more; FORRS is a registered Canadian charity.
To help save volunteer time, FORRS suggests making donations through www.canadahelps.org . Just type in Friends of the Rossland Range and follow the prompts.
Can I volunteer?
Want to go out there and have fun? Check out the volunteering page first, to see what might need doing; then go to the contacts page to find out who to talk to about it and how to get in touch with them. Something always needs doing!