Restoring Cayton Guard Station proving costly

Restoring the nation’s second-oldest U.S. Forest Service ranger station is providing a lesson in inflation and patience.

The three-room Cayton Guard Station, in Mesa County 15 miles south of Silt, cost $723.01 for forest ranger James Cayton and his wife Birdie to build in 1910.

The Cayton Ranger Station Foundation, formed in recent years to restore the cabin with the help of Forest Service employees, thought that restoration work would cost $80,000.

“But as we got into the project, we discovered the floor had to be removed, some logs replaced, and the prices of goods and services have really increased since our original estimate a few years ago. It’s probably going to cost twice as much to finish it,” Alan Lambert, president of the foundation, said in a White River National Forest news release Tuesday.

Still, work is proceeding, thanks in part to donations of money and services to the project. This summer, foundation vice president Dean Filiss, owner of Divide Creek Builders, donated his company’s time and expertise to pouring a cement foundation for the cabin.

Mullinax Roofing will replace the cabin’s roof. Other work will include putting in a new floor, repairing chinking between logs and hanging back up original shelving. Also, the original Majestic wood cook stove will be returned to the center of the cabin, where it sat for nearly a century.

The cabin was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The only older ranger station in the country is the Wapiti station, built on the Shoshone National Forest near Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in 1907, said White River National Forest spokesperson Diann Ritschard.

Until renovation is complete, the cabin remains closed, along with the road leading to it, Ritschard said.

Donations to the project may be sent to the Cayton Ranger Station Foundation, P.O. Box 1898, Rifle 81650.


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