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Agreement will allow Mt. Ashland work to begin

A remodel of the Mt. Ashland lodge should begin within two weeks with a goal of completing renovations before wet weather strikes, including enclosure of two decks to add 1,000 feet of indoor space.

The U.S. Forest Service, the State Historical Preservation Office and the Mt. Ashland Association have reached an agreement on mitigation for adverse impacts the project could cause to the historical character of the lodge. Lack of an agreement would have delayed the work.

“The external work will come first when we do the enclosures and new roofs on top of them,” said mountain General Manger Hiram Towle. “Most of the conversations are around the time and what to work on so we can move indoors on construction as soon as possible to avoid any issue with weather conditions.”

Adroit Construction of Ashland has been selected to perform the work. The firm and ski area are working on cost details but are expected to sign a contract in the near future.

New metal roofing to replace the current wood shakes won’t likely be put on until next spring, because roofing contractors are busy, said Towle. A planned entryway renovation will be delayed until spring, as well.

“We want to maintain the focus on the things the guests are going to come and see,” said Towle.

Besides more interior space, changes include relocation of the ski and snowboard rental shop to the basement of the lodge, moving of lockers from the basement to the former rental shop, construction of a new interior stairway inside one of the new enclosures, removal of old stairs and changes to the food services area.

Work cannot begin until the agreement is signed, which should happen within the next two weeks, said Ranger Donna Mickely of the Siskiyou Mountain Ranger District. The Forest Service leases the land to the ski area.

Built in 1964, the lodge was found to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places in an assessment required for actions on Forest Service lands. That led to a 30-day comment period that closed June 6.

“We didn’t get substantial comments. We got a lot of support. We only got one comment of concern,” said Mickley. That was about the change of roofing but is addressed by the mitigation worked out between the groups.

Melissa Schroeder, Forest Service Heritage Program manager, said mitigation measures include three components suggested in the scoping letter issued at the start of the comment period.

Provisions include photographic documentation of the building prior to improvements and archiving of other documentation; evaluating the historic significance of the separate ski rental building; and creation of an interpretive display to be installed inside the lodge that will show the building history and talk about skiing development.

Photo documentation of the building has already taken place, said Towle, and other elements of the mitigation requirements have been started.

Just over $1 million has been raised toward the $1.4 million campaign goal to finance renovations. Money remains available to match donations from a $500,000 matching grant offered by the Karen and Sid Deboer Foundation. About $80,000 in donations was received prior to the Deboer match announcement, said Towle. Mt. Ashland continues to pursue grants and corporate donations for the project.

— Tony Boom is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

Mt. Ashland hopes to begin work soon on improvements that will, among other things, expand its interior by 1,000 square feet . [Mail Tribune File Photo]