How a Cabin Disappeared in the Mt. Baker Wilderness

Oct. 19, 2018 — The one room cabin perched precariously on a narrow ridge, its dilapidated windows boasting stunning views of the surrounding Wilderness landscape. However, the cabin and its contents old furniture, mattresses, a wood stove, treated lumber and garbage – was slowly being crushed by the weight of heavy annual snowfall.

Down below, I was joined by our partners from the Bellingham, WA-based Whatcom Land Trust and several experienced backcountry contractors. Undeterred by the horizontal line of fresh snow that had appeared across the peaks of the nearby Mount Baker Wilderness, we loaded our backpacks with rechargeable batteries, chainsaw fuel, crowbars, hammers, rope and trash bags and took off up the trail.

After reaching the project site, we quickly organized ourselves into teams and, by the end of the day, all that remained was the cabin platform and a large pile of material.

The cabin site is part of a 38-acre inholding project we acquired last winter. We are now coordinating with a local helicopter service to fly the materials out of the Wilderness so we can truck them away for proper disposal. Once the parcel is returned to its natural state, we will transfer it to the Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest as a new addition to the surrounding Mt. Baker Wilderness.

As we hiked back to our trucks that evening, it struck me how this effort mirrors larger partnerships the Trust builds to successfully complete projects, even during times of increasing threats to our wild places.