Trifecta restores Alaska cabin

Trifecta restores Alaska cabin

ALASKA — The years had taken their toll on Berners Bay cabin. When the Alaskan Brewing Company expressed interest in working with the Forest Service on cabin restoration, George Schaaf, Forest Service Regional Partnership Coordinator for the Alaska Region, and Dayle Wallien, Conservation Partnerships Director of the National Forest Foundation, had just the project in mind.

Berners Bay Cabin is a prime recreation spot for visitors — spawning fish in the spring draw out many different animals for viewing, and activities such as saltwater fishing and sea kayaking are popular on the bay.

Photo: Two men carry large rocks for lining a path.
Andy Kline, communications director for Alaskan Brewing Company, left, helps Trail Mix employee Mike Cotyk gather rocks for a path leading to Forest Service’s Berners Bay cabin. Photo courtesy of Michael Penn.

“Due to the rising cost of fighting wildfires elsewhere in the country, the Forest Service’s budget for recreation programs in Alaska has been cut by nearly 50 percent since 2011,” Schaaf said. “The days are over when we could take care of every trail and public use cabin on our own.”

Alaskan Brewing Company teamed up with Trail Mix, Inc. and the National Forest Foundation to renovate Berners Bay cabin and the trailing leading to it. Trail Mix, Inc. is a Juneau-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to “be the steward of a safe and enjoyable trails system by bringing people and resources together for trail improvements and activities.”

Photo: Cabin in woods. A ladder leans against the railing.
Berners Bay cabin was restored this summer thanks to local partners. Forest Service photo.

As a locally owned business, Alaskan Brewing Company strives to give back to its community. Restoring Berners Bay Cabin was a perfect opportunity to enhance coastal recreation for the local community while growing and establishing partnerships with organizations sharing similar goals. Funding for the project came from the Alaskan Brewing Company’s Coastal Code program, which directs 1 percent of all profits from the brewery’s Icy Bay IPA to coastal cleanup projects.

The National Forest Foundation was able to match the donation from Alaska Brewing Company through its newly launched Alaska Fund, bringing the total project budget to $8,000. Trail Mix, Inc. then received a grant to cover the cost of labor and supplies.

The teamwork involved in this project will serve as an inspiration for future recreation projects in the years to come.