County crews refurbish Clear Lake cabins

Linn County Parks staff members are busy refurbishing three rustic cabins at Clear Lake Resort, installing fiberglass reinforced concrete log-like siding that is fire-retardant and should also provide long-term durability against rugged winter weather.

Adam Brenneman and Brett Tetzlaff were busy on a recent Monday morning removing decades-old wooden shutters and a mixture of siding materials from the cabins.

The interiors of the three cabins have already been remodeled.

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.

Brenneman said the project should take about three weeks and will include new vinyl-clad windows in two of the units. Number 16 cabin will retain its historical windows that have been rebuilt.

Exterior siding ranges from T-111 on the newer cabins to decades-old cedar shakes on cabin 16.

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

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

“It’s more expensive, but we believe it is 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 put up two yurts this fall, Brenneman said.

He said it takes about a week and a half to install a yurt, plus additional time for a wooden deck.

There is one yurt already in place at Clear Lake. Yurts have proven popular throughout Linn County Parks.

Clear Lake Ranger J.R. Erspamer said business was brisk this year.

“We’re starting to wind down, but we had excellent boat rentals and overall sales were up, even though we were short-staffed,” Erspamer said.

Erspamer said members of last summer’s staff returned and that helped, having experience, even though staffing was short.

Erspamer said the weather was nice and the number of days of smoke invasion were low.

“It never got crushingly hot,” Erspamer said. “We didn’t have any weather extremes.”

It also was a good year for fishing, Erspamer said.

“I saw lots of full stringers of fish,” Erspamer said. “The biggest fish was 24 inches long and it was caught by a 7-year-old boy.”

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

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

Erspamer said this was his third season at Clear Lake and “I never get tired of how beautiful this place is.”

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer