Sawtooth National Forest Seeks Comment on Development Proposal for Redfish Lake Lodge Store Replacement

Release Date: Aug 15, 2011  

CONTACT: Julie Thomas, Public Affairs Officer
PHONE: 208-737-3262

DATE: August 14, 2011

Sawtooth National Forest Seeks Comment on Development Proposal for Redfish Lake Lodge Store Replacement

KETCHUM, ID… The Sawtooth National Forest is seeking to inform the public and solicit comments regarding a proposal by Redfish Lake Lodge, LLC to replace the existing convenience store with a new building incorporating both the store and eight new lodge rooms. This new building would be located between the new public restroom building and the existing historic lodge. The proposal provides for vehicle parking between the new convenience store/lodging and the Point Campground Road (Forest Service Road 213). Vehicle routes and parking along the lakefront and beside the lodge would be converted to grass lawn. The new store building would physically separate vehicle traffic from the historic lodge and lakeshore, creating a more tranquil, pedestrian friendly lakefront setting.

Removing vehicle congestion and traffic from the lakefront proximity is expected to improve visitor safety as well as their recreational experience. Forest visitors, including many young children, must now navigate a busy parking lot and traffic route to cross from the beach to the public restrooms, or to the store, and back to the lodge. Separating vehicle traffic from these busy pedestrian routes will eliminate vehicle and pedestrian conflict in this area. While numerous aspects of this proposal are beneficial, these improvements will also change the Redfish visitor’s experience.

Redfish Lake Lodge and its associated core buildings have been determined to be eligible for nomination as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. The addition of this sizeable new store and lodging building has been determined to have an Adverse Effect on the Redfish Lake Lodge Historic District. The impact is proposed to be mitigated by several measures intended to maintain and recover other historic qualities within the district, and the district would still remain eligible for nomination to the National Register.

The Sawtooth National Forest believes the significant improvements to visitor experience and safety warrant considering this proposal, in spite of the “Adverse Effect” determination. The Idaho State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has been consulted. SHPO concurs with the Forest Service determination of “Adverse Effect”. SHPO also agrees with the Forest Service that the proposed mitigation measures will adequately compensate for the impacts and provide for historic property maintenance guidance that will have continued value in the years to come.

Proposed mitigation measures include the creation of landscape screening to reduce the visual impact of the new building as viewed from Redfish Lake; the development of an interpretive kiosk at the relocated gas house for display at Redfish Lake Lodge; and the development of a preservation/restoration plan for the Redfish Lake Lodge Historic District.

The new store building would be about 100 feet long and 40 feet deep; its roof line would be about 5 feet lower than the existing lodge building. The eight new rooms would be above the new store and feature dormer style windows. The old gas house now used as a bike rental cabin near the existing store would be moved down toward the lake to a spot very near its historic location where it would house interpretive displays. The existing store would be moved about a quarter of a mile along Forest Road 213 to where the horse corrals, public showers, employee housing and gas station are located. The existing store will replace the existing gas station building at this site.

“The way people have experienced Redfish Lake Lodge in the past will change significantly with this development,” states Sara Baldwin, Area Ranger for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, “however the mitigation for historic district impacts, along with the removal of vehicle congestion from the beach and lodge area will create a safer, more tranquil, pedestrian-friendly lodge and lake front setting. We are interested in hearing thoughts from the public on these proposed changes.” Comments related to the store replacement and vehicle traffic pattern proposal will be most helpful if received on or before September 10, 2011. Send your comments to Dave Fluetsch at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, 5 North Fork Canyon Road, Ketchum, ID, 83340 or by email to: . For more information, please contact Dave Fluetsch at (208) 727-5000. Comments received in response to this proposal, including names and addresses of those who comment, are considered part of the public record and are available for public inspection.