Santiam Pass Ski Lodge, OR 2021
Santiam Pass Ski Lodge, OR 2021

Santiam Pass Ski Lodge, OR 2021

Santiam Pass Ski Lodge, OR 2021

From 1940-1986, thousands of guests used this CCC-constructed building as a base for hiking, overnight camps, skiing, and more. The lodge was been vacant since 1986, but a groundswell of interest in bringing the lodge back to life has inspired awesome restoration efforts, including a partnership with HistoriCorps!

PROJECT PARTNERFriends of Santiam Pass Ski Lodge and the Willamette National Forest

SESSION DATES:  October 10-15, October 17-22, and October 24-29

Project Site Description & History

Located on Santiam Pass just 20 miles west of Sisters, Oregon, on land historically inhabited by the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Tenino, and Molalla Nations, the CCC-built Santiam Pass Ski Lodge is experiencing a surge of interest. Preservationists and history lovers from around the region have come together to restore the lodge. The Friends of Santiam Pass Ski Lodge are doing the hard work necessary to bring the lodge back into public service. HistoriCorps is thrilled to be a part of this effort!

As shared by the Friends of Santiam Ski Lodge, this building “is one of Oregon’s historic gems. The beautiful Civilian Conservation Corps built lodge was constructed in 1939-40 as a winter recreational facility in the High Cascades of Western Oregon. It was originally intended to be a ski lodge for the Three Fingered Jack winter sports area. Accommodating up to sixty guests within its dormitories, the lodge was built in response to growing public demand for recreational facilities. It represents a significant period in US history, has a unique architecture and builders.

“Between the years of 1940 to 1986, Santiam Pass Ski Lodge was a favorite venue for diverse groups throughout Oregon. It was host to thousands of guests per year who visited for winter activities, summer camps, hiking, backpacking and rest for travelers over the Santiam Pass. Many visited the lodge for camps and retreats during the years it was operated by the Presbyterian Council of the Cascades. After 46 years of operation the lodge closed in 1986 and has not been in operation since.

“Santiam Lodge is an excellent example of the rustic architectural style of the era, and one of six lodges in the Pacific Northwest constructed with an original design by the CCC. The lodge included a ski shop, a large main lounge with stone fireplace, a dining hall, kitchen, office/caretaker’s quarter, recreation room and storage rooms. Materials for construction of the lodge were all derived from local sources. The stone for the foundation, fireplace and chimney were all quarried from Hogg Rock just to the west. Most of the lodge was built from timber milled from local trees.”

Our campsite at Fish Lake Remount Depot is fascinating. The first structure at Fish Lake was a roadhouse built in 1867 by the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road Company to accommodate travelers along the Santiam Wagon Road. It became a Forest Service outpost in 1905. Activities at the site now focus on interpretation, historic preservation and landscape restoration. Learn more here. Volunteers on this project will experience beautiful natural surroundings while honoring the history of this incredibly special place.

This vintage photo of a skiier sliding into the lodge was shared in a rousing story by Bronte Dod, posted in Bend Magazine in 2019.

The lodge was constructed from a unique CCC design, with locally-sourced materials.

This drawing of the Santiam Lodge comes courtesy of the Friends.

Scope of Work

PHYSICAL DIFFICULTY:  

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 will learn the skills necessary to restore several buildings’ elements at Santiam Lodge.

  • Repair deteriorated wood siding:  45%
  • Repair broken rafters:  45%
  • Miscellaneous carpentry tasks, including repairing timber sills, stud walls, and window openings:  10%

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.

Location and Logistics

PROJECT PARTNER:  Friends of Santiam Pass Ski Lodge and Willamette National Forest

SITE INFORMATION:    Tent camping only  Site is RV/trailer accessible

We will camp just 15 minutes away and commute to the jobsite daily. Tent campers, truck campers, and those with small-to-medium RVs/trailers can access this campsite. However, there are no hookups and the ground may not be perfectly level.

LOCATION:

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 clothes and boots, and other personal gear.

Sign Up!

We’re thrilled this project has inspired you to volunteer! Choose your session and register below:

You will know your registration was successful when you receive a confirmation email. Contact volunteer@historicorps.org 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:

  • Review our COVID protocols here
  • 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, 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 volunteer@historicorps.org 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.
  • 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.