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Upgrades underway

Clear Lake cabins have been getting a facelift

Alex Paul

CLEAR LAKE: Linn County Parks staff members have been busy refurbishing three rustic cabins at the Clear Lake Resort - installing log-like fiberglass reinforced concrete siding that is fire-retardant and likely to provide long-term durability against rugged winter weather.

On a recent Monday morning, Adam Brenneman and Brett Tetzlaff were busy removing decades-old wooden shutters and mixed siding materials from the cabin's exterior walls.

Brenneman said the interior of two of the cabins had been refurbished in 2020 and one in 2021. The work included new sheetrock, flooring, beds, stainless steel tables, and new curtains.

The project was expected to take about three weeks and will include new vinyl-clad windows in two of the units. The Number 16 cabin will retain its historic windows, which have been reconstructed.

Exterior siding ranges from T-111 on the newer cabins to decades-old cedar shakes on Cabin 15.

Brenneman said shakes that are in usable condition will be kept in inventory to use for future repairs on other cabins.

Linn County Parks Director Brian Carroll said this is the first time the county has used fiberglass-concrete materials that resemble wooden logs. The process to make them has been around for decades and is expected to increase fire protection while maintaining the rustic look and feel of the cabins.

"It's more expensive, but we believe it's going to be much more durable," Carroll said. "in the winter, snow often drifts up against the buildings and we believe this will keep out moisture better as well."

In addition to the cabin renovations, parks staff will also install two yurts.

It takes about a week and a half to construct a yurt, along with some more extra time to build an adjacent wood deck, Brenneman said.

The new structures will join one already in place at Clear Lake, along with other yurts that have proven to be popular throughout Linn County Parks sites.

Clear Lake Ranger J.R. Ersparner said business was brisk this year. "We ha excellent boat rentals and overall sales were up, even though we were short-staffed," Ersparner said.

The members of last summer's staff that returned were experienced and that helped. In addition, Ersparner said the weather was nice and the number of days impacted by smoke inversions was low.

"It never got crushingly hot," Ersparner said. "We didn't have any weather extremes."

The summer season was also a good year for fishing. "I saw lots of full stringers of fish," Ersparner said. "The biggest fish was 24 inches long and it was caught by a 7-year-old boy."

Ersparner said that while some county crew members are renovating the cabins and adding the two yurts, he will be "deep cleaning" the cabins and servicing refrigerators and heaters.

"The cabins are open all winter," Ersparner said. "This is a great place to use as a home base to go skiing at Hoodoo or snowshoeing."

Now in his third season at Clear Lake, Ersparner admits, "I never get tired of how beautiful this place is."

Parks employee Adam Brenneman at work on Cabin 11 at the Clear Lake Resort.

Brenneman and Brett Tetzlaff with old shutters and windows from the cabins.

The renovated interior of one of the cabins.

Clear Lake Ranger J.R. Ersparner assisting customers in the lodge concession area.


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