Rossland Range Recreation Site: out with the old, in with the new – Friends of the Rossland Range (FORRS) have received permission from Justin Dexter, the Ministry of Forests District Recreation Officer, to replace the old, dirt-floored, packrat-infested Eagle’s Nest day-use hut with a new shelter. The current state of the old Eagle’s Nest is distressing enough that it has been locked and labeled “Closed for the season.”
The old Eagle’s Nest will be dismantled and removed next year. The new replacement version is already being designed by an enthusiastic volunteer.
The fate of the old Surprise hut:
Scheduled for demolition very soon is the old hut named Surprise. A crew is being gathered to take it down as soon as possible, and to leave the dismantled materials neatly stacked to be carted out next year when the snow is gone again.
Logbook notes from Surprise hut document its abrupt decline in usage and condition. The cabin was built decades ago, was renovated at least once, and was used by hordes of happy and grateful trekkers over the years. Here’s one typical logbook entry: December 26, 2013 – “Such a nice place for grilled cheese and hot chocolate! – S.B, Saskatoon, SK.”
A note from Valentine’s Day, 2016, said “Thank you for the great cabin!” Another note on the same day said, “Sunny day! Just a quick snowshoe and grilled cheese at the cabin with our four-year-old; he wanted to try out his brand-new snowshoes! Still lots and lots of snow up here.”
A note dated March 17, 2016, exclaimed, “Lovely to be back!”
But by early September of the same year, a scathing entry in the Surprise log-book expressed an entirely different opinion, and did not hold back: “What a disgrace! Garbage and abandoned building material. [--] Rats and trash! Dismantle this slum and clean it up. Whoever built this on public land and left this mess is a criminal.”
Now that Surprise hut has been replaced by the new Booty’s cabin right beside the Seven Summits trail, the old place will be removed and the site cleaned up. The old hut served its purpose and was well appreciated until the bushy-tailed pack-rats began using it more than humans; it was a do-able distance from the parking lot for small children, oldsters, and anyone else short of time or energy. It was part of our local preventive health care, getting people “out there” who might not otherwise have gone. Now they have the option of using Booty’s for a short-trek destination.
Those who want shelter for a rest or lunch-break further away than Booty’s but closer than Sunspot or Lepsoe Basin huts will celebrate when the new Eagle’s Nest is complete.
Getting around out there: maps and “snow hosts”
The locations of all the current huts, both the new, authorized ones and the old “inactive” ones, are marked on the printable maps available on the FORRS website.There are also maps posted by the Strawberry Pass parking lot and at various locations on the trails, usually at intersections.
For visitors and other people new to Rossland, or just new to the Rossland Range Recreation Site, FORRS is also initiating a volunteer “Snow Host” program. Some members of FORRS are willing to provide some basic, introductory free guidance in the Rec Site on mutually convenient days. Anyone interested should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with a volunteer “snow host.”