Alder Ridge Lookout Cabin, CA 2023
Alder Ridge Lookout Cabin, CA 2023

Alder Ridge Lookout Cabin, CA 2023

Alder Ridge Lookout Cabin, CA 2023

High above the Sierra Nevada lies the Alder Ridge Lookout Cabin, a historic remanent of the Eldorado National Forests’ past and future. Fire lookout facilities like these are in dire need of restoration as climate change is reshaping our wilderness. 

PROJECT PARTNER: Eldorado National Forest

SESSION DATES: June 18-23, June 25-30, July 30 – August 4, and August 6-11



*Volunteers will work alongside members of the Nevada Conservation Corps!*

Project Site Description & History

Tucked in the high country of Eldorado National Forest lies the Alder Ridge Lookout Facility, a remnant of the past that has survived generations along with the many symbolic changes of the U.S. Forest Service. Originally constructed in 1937 by the Placerville Ranger District with assistance from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the facility is located in El Dorado County at an elevation of 6,225′ and includes a 60ft observation-only lookout tower, single car garage, and a ranger cabin.

In 1910, forest management policies went through a radical change, as catastrophic fires burned over 5 million acres of National Forest lands collectively between Washington, Idaho, and Montana, causing a moment of sobriety for the newly created United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). By the time of the Great Depression, labor programs sprouting out of the New Deal gained traction among the Forest Service, and Eldorado’s Region 5 elevated as a choice partner for the development of fire lookout facilities that were now deemed essential to help manage the vast wilderness and timber of California’s Sierra Nevada.

In 1990 the facility became eligible for the National Register of Historic Places after a nation-wide study on historic fire lookout facilities was completed. We hope you’ll join us as we rehabilitate and restore the aging ranger cabin that has seen better years and has been an unfortunate victim of vandalism. Due to unprecedented snowfall in the region, we anticipate one of the more scenic seasons on record!

Location and Logistics

SESSION DATES: June 18-23, June 25-30, July 30 – August 4, and August 6-11

*There is no Kitchen Helper for this project*

Please plan to arrive at the campsite no earlier than 5pm and no later than 7pm on the first day of your session.

LOCATION:  Located roughly 80 minutes from South Lake Tahoe!

Tents, truck campers, campervans are welcome. Hi clearance vehicles required. There is no space for RVs and showers are not available. Dogs are welcomed!

WEATHER:  Anticipate highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s. Weather conditions may be rainy, cloudy, or sunny. Volunteers are responsible for checking weather conditions before their session begins, and packing appropriately.

ABOUT VOLUNTEERING: HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work gloves, clothes and boots, and other personal gear.

Scope of Work


HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers and applying the traditional skills necessary to restore the Alder Ridge Lookout Cabin – Please come prepared to work at an elevation over 6200′:

  • Carpentry repairs (siding, doors, and trim)
  • Exterior painting and staining
  • Window sash framing and rehabilitation

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Sign Up!

We’re thrilled this project has inspired you to volunteer!


Visit our Job Calendar to see if a project session is full.

*All registrations submitted to projects at capacity will be automatically added to our waitlist.*

You will know your registration was successful when you receive a confirmation email. Contact for assistance.

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Volunteer Logistics, Policies, and Advice

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining this project! If you’re new to our community, review the Volunteer FAQ first! Please note the following logistics and policies: 

  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging. Dinner is not provided on the first night. 
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, work gloves, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places. 
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate small RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email for help. 
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day. 
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work. 
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you. 
  • Hard hats, eye protection, ear protection, gloves are standard personal protection equipment (PPE) required on all projects. Hard hats must be worn at all times on the project site, unless working in a designated safe space. Field staff will train volunteers on correct use of PPE. 
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans in project campsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). Dogs are not permitted on the job site for everyone's safety. HOWEVER: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.