Anan Bay Recreation Cabin


SourDough News | June 13, 2012


Anan A-frame cabin built in 1964.
Anan A-Frame cabin built in 1964.

Anan cabin built in 2012.
Anan cabin built in 2012. Standing on the porch are Bob Lippert, Austin O’Brien, and Eleanor Oman.

Anan Bay has a new recreation cabin! The A-Frame cabin from last century was replaced with a brand new 15 ft x 17 ft cabin constructed from Alaska yellow-cedar, harvested from the Tongass National Forest

Ketchikan Ready Mix (KRM) won the Anan Bay Cabin Replacement contract. Art Etter, a former Tongass employee, was subcontracted by KRM to perform the structural engineering design of the new cabin. KRM has a long history of contracting with the Forest Service for logging road construction, crushed aggregate surfacing, fish pipe replacements, trail construction, and other transportation related work. For this project, they purchased Alaska yellow-cedar logs from Pacific Log and Lumber, who harvested the trees from Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District’s Buckdance Madder Timber Sale at Shoal Cove. The logs were rough cut in Ketchikan with a Wood-Mizer® portable sawmill then sent to Oregon for kiln drying, grading, and final planing.

Once the logs were back in Ketchikan, the KRM crew of carpenters assembled the cabin during the long, cold, snowy winter of 2012, in a heated warehouse! The contractor’s crew was warm and happy, and Forest Service contract administration was low-carbon impact.

Spring arrived, snow melted, storm winds abated, yellow wood violets bloomed, and the KRM crew headed out on a tug and barge to start site work at Anan Bay. They moved the old A-frame cabin, intact, to their barge. They fell three hazard trees with creative use of the tug boat and expert sawyering. Bigfoot Systems pre-molded bell shaped footings were installed. The site was ready for its new cabin! On May 23, 2012, the new Alaska yellow-cedar cabin was unloaded from its barge and pulled, inch by inch, with cables and pulleys and a Kubota mini-excavator, up the slope to its permanent location.
(Cabin picture gallery)

The cabin will provide overnight accommodations for visitors who come to enjoy outstanding bear viewing at the Anan Wildlife Observatory. Anan is one of the most popular destinations on the Wrangell Ranger District, with nearly 3,000 visitors coming to the site each year to watch both brown and black bears feeding on one of the largest pink salmon runs in the area. The Anan Bay Cabin is one of the most sought after summer cabins on the district, offering unparalleled access to wildlife viewing in the early and late hours when bear activity often picks up. The Anan Bay Cabin has always been popular with visitors, and satisfaction is sure to improve even more with this new facility.

The old Anan Bay Cabin from 1964 was designated in the contract as the contractor’s responsibility to demolish and properly dispose. Rather than demolish, KRM chose to keep the cabin intact and placed it on the owner’s property near Ketchikan. The cabin will enjoy a second life, and five tons of lumber, plywood, doors, glass, bolts, and nails were saved from a landfill ever after.

This cabin was replaced as part of the Regional Sustainable Recreation Cabin Program. The program started in 2007 with a mission to provide a sustainable cabin program that would maintain cabins to standard, prevent accumulation of deferred maintenance, and maximize life of public investments. The existing cabin program of 200+ cabins at that time did not appear sustainable.

A side benefit of the program was that local mills were given an opportunity to use timber harvested from the Tongass to develop a marketable product—log cabins—and local businesses and contractors were given an economic stimulus in the form of potential jobs and material purchases. This all occurred as the effects of the termination of the 50-year pulp mill contracts was being felt by Southeast Alaska. The Anan Bay Cabin replacement project was submitted as a Capital Investment Project in 2005 and funded through the Recreation Site Improvement project in 2009. RSI funds came from a portion of Land and Water Conservation Fund receipts deposited over many years that was made available to the agency to reduce deferred maintenance at high priority fee sites.

Throughout the project, the Contractor provided ways to minimize the impact on the environment. Trips to the Ketchikan site were a short drive out the road, in a vehicle that gets 25 miles per gallon of fuel, rather than a 1 ½ hour round trip flight in a Beaver, which uses 25 gallons of fuel per hour.  Eight inspection visits were made during the Ketchikan portion of the work, approximately one per week, for a fuel savings of 300 gallons (Beaver) minus 6 gallons (car) = 294 gallons. Additionally, the cabin will enjoy a second life, and five tons of lumber, plywood, doors, glass, bolts, and nails were saved from a landfill ever after.

Keith Appleman, Wrangell Recreation/Lands/Wilderness/Minerals Staff Officer, was the project coordinator for the new cabin, and also a contract inspector. Bob Lippert, Wrangell District Trails and Cabins Supervisor, was also a contract inspector. Eleanor Oman, whose duty station is Ketchikan and works for ETS, a Forest Service Enterprise Unit, was the Contracting Officer’s Representative. Kay Steffey, Contract Specialist, who recently transferred to the Incident Support Branch at the National Interagency Fire Center in Idaho after almost nine years on the Tongass, was the Contracting Officer. Rod Dell’Andrea, Region 10 Structures Engineer, provided structural engineering assistance.


By Eleanor Oman, PE  Civil Engineer. ETS Enterprise Technical Services