Scout log cabin project rolling along in Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — Hopes are high that a log cabin to replace the Scout cabin on Morgan Hill will be constructed and open by the end of the year.

The Fred Lewis Scout Cabin Association reviewed the accomplishments of the past year and presented a timeline for completion of the cabin at its annual meeting on Monday.

The association board hopes to break ground by April 1, and have the new cabin open by December, said Joe Carey, vice-president of the association board.

“We get the logs and the building permit, and the pressure will start to build,” Carey said.

A public hearing is on the agenda of the Jan. 20 meeting of the Port Townsend City Council to consider street vacations for the property, a park formerly owned by the local American Legion post at the entrance to the city.

Another immediate objective: to obtain and cut the logs before the sap starts rising, Carey said.

An offer last spring from the Navy to provide the 96 logs needed for construction by selective horse logging on Naval Magazine Indian Island property is still in flux, Carey said.

The logs from the old cabin, saved when the property by the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America was sold and the structure razed, were not able to be retrieved and are in poor condition, the year-end report stated.

Engineering plans

Using the old cabin as a guide, Port Townsend designer Teri Mielke has completed the engineering plans for a new cabin.

The project is a joint community effort with the support of the American Legion post and Elks Lodge No. 317, which charters local Cub Scout and Boy Scout groups.

“I am very impressed about how far things are along,” said Norm Stevens, a local Sea Scout leader and association representative.

The main highlights of 2008 were the transfer of LeRoy Carroll Park by American Legion Post No. 26 to the Scout Cabin Association on April 1, and an anonymous donation of $40,000, Carey said.

The association also hosted a picnic at the park property, located at the entrance to Port Townsend, and had a booth at the Jefferson County Fair where a model of the original Scout cabin was displayed.

The booth and model created a lot of interest in the project from ex-Scouts in the area, Carey said.

“There are a lot of people out there waiting for us to get started,” said Ralph Ericksen, a board member who is the construction coordinator for the project.

The main meeting room of the cabin will match the dimensions of the old cabin, 30 by 60 feet, Mielke said, but it will have two bump outs, one for the entry and one for an office.

The new cabin also will have a kitchen, ADA bathrooms, an entrance ramp and a basement for equipment storage, he added.

Plans are being reviewed by the engineer, Gene Unger.

The association hopes to have the building enclosed by the end of September.

To support construction costs, the association has set a goal of raising $125,000 by the end of June.

The total cost is estimated at $400,000, of which half will be in cash and half in donations of labor, materials and equipment, the planning document states.


At Monday’s meeting, Pat McMinds was re-elected as an association member-at-large, and as president.

Other officers re-elected for 2009 were Carey, vice-president; Dick Wiltse secretary and John Mackey, treasurer.

Mackey, who represents the local Cub Scout pack, reported that Christmas tree sales netted close to $3,800.

Stevens said that local Boy Scouts had raised more than $1,300 from popcorn sales.

Both fundraisers support troop and pack activities, and provide Scouts with funds for summer camp.

“It’s good to see so much activity, so that we’ll have tenants,” Carey said.

“We know they’ll come once the cabin is there.”

The Fred Lewis Scout Cabin Association formed to provide a community organization to build and maintain the cabin for local youth groups, including Scouts.

It will also be available to the public to rent.

Ken McMillen, the American Legion post’s representative on the board, is compiling a list of ex-Boy Scouts who want to help with the project or make in-kind donations.

For more information, e-mail him at, or Mackey, treasurer, at


Port Townsend/Jefferson County reporter/columnist Jennifer Jackson can be reached at

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