Saturday, March 12, 2011

Where Historic and Environmental Preservation Intersect...

Where Nature and History Touch.

...flexibility and ingenuity need to be utilized. This was the case recently at Possession Point State park where a fishing cabin slated for the dumpster is being saved. Rich with history and a great example of what used to satisfy us for a weekend, this fishing cabin was slated for demolition due to 'beach improvements'!

The ranger trimming the shed!
This sounds ominous to me. The beach looks fine. The existing bulkheads are showing their age, but are still in place, with a nice buffer of natural rock and driftwood. I'd like to see native beach grass instead of pasture grass and am hoping the restoration of the bulkhead will include native plantings.

But none the less, the money will be spent digging up this entire beach and replacing it with new and improved imported rocks. Unfortunately, in this budget of hundreds of thousands of dollars, there wasn't enough money to move a 10'x14' cabin nearly a century old.

John and Harrison
So on Sunday the 6th of March, a diverse group of individuals including scuba divers, jewelers, pharmacists, port and park employees, and a few builders gathered on the soggy shores of Possession point to move a cabin.

The cabin on it's skid, on roller pipes, being loaded on the trailer

Today the weather was great. It was clear, warm and beautiful. What isn't apparent is most of these volunteers have been here every weekend for the last month digging, bracing and bolting the cabin together for the move and building a great big skid underneath the cabin. They often worked in cold, windy, rainy weather, not the sun of today.

Other details of the move include planning routes, storage and reinstatement logistics. Addressing safety issues and gathering tools and equipment for the move. Getting permission, checking it twice, and generally winding up miles of red tape between the cabin where it is now, and where it will be after all the shoreline work is completed. (Right back where it was!)

Our electric winch failed due to a proprietary fitting between the motor and 12v power supply, (damn Chicago Electric!) so out come all the mechanical devices.

Underside of Possession Point Fishing Cabin.
The truck, a bit small for the trailer being moved, got stuck almost immediately. The ground was saturated from seeping water. The cabin was loaded on the trailer but the ground is too soft to move the trailer, even with a 18,000# loader.

The loader dragging the cabin, on trialer, out of the hole.
Now, with the cabin on the trailer, it will be moved about 300', taken off the trailer and parked on blocks until the beach improvments are made. Then, it will be loaded back on the trailer and moved back to it's original

location, on the new improved beach.

Once back in place, this cute, ratty-tatty historic fishing cabin will then need to be stabilized, repaired, and re-roofed. Then it can be re-purposed, given new life for hopefully another century's worth of shelter, allowing kayakers and beach lovers a chance to sleep on the beach!

Possession Point State Park, part of the Washington Water Trails association, has a grant to dig up everything in this picture and replace it with new, improved beach. A historic fishing cabin behind photographer is being moved by Harrison and many others to preserve a bit of history.

Harrison, on his birthday. The first one to the site and the last one off! Literally!

This fishing cabin owes it's life to Harrison and deserves a plaque that says as much. Without Harrison, this Possession Point cabin would have been demolished in the summer of 2011, during beach improvements. Thank you Harrison for working so hard to preserve our connection to the past. And, Happy Birthday!

GoTo YouTube, CabinTug.MOV, to see the possession point fishing cabin being loaded onto the trailer.

Video: Doing in Minutes what it took hours to do with all this hardware!

Video: Branches, damn the branches!

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