A hike through the Pioneer Fire area
I was crushed this winter when I got an email telling me my reservation for the Beaver Creek Cabin was cancelled.
I had been excited to celebrate my birthday there for the second year in a row. Suddenly, I had to figure out some kind of alternative.
I get it, though. The Forest Service has a lot of work to do to rehab the area after last year’s Pioneer Fire ripped through the area, charring a big chunk of the forest north of Idaho City.
I hadn’t seen the damage first-hand until Monday, when my dad and I hiked through the Beaver Creek-Edna Creek area, ending up at the Rocky Ridge Yurt.
The good news is that the Beaver Creek Cabin survived the fire, though it must have been taken some effort, since the fire obviously crept within a couple hundred feet of the structures.
Yurts in the area weren’t so lucky. All six yurts managed by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation are closed. The Pioneer Fire burned the Whispering Pines Yurt to the ground, said Leo Hennessy, the department’s park and ski coordinator. It’ll be at least six months before reconstruction can begin.
The other five were damaged too, but they’ll only require repairs such as new roofs, walls and insulation, Hennessy said. Idaho Parks and Rec has bought the needed materials, he said.
The Forest Service is conducting salvage logging in the area. Idaho will wait until that’s done to open the yurts. Hennessy said he hopes to open at least three — Skyline, Rocky Ridge and Stargaze — this fall. The other two — Banner Ridge and Elkhorn — might take a bit longer.
As for the Beaver Creek Cabin, they tell me it should be available sometime this winter. Maybe it’s time I tried snowshoeing.