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Peterson Prairie Guard Station Burns Down

Caused by stray ember

Forest Service personnel announce the historic Peterson Prairie Guard Station burned down on Sept. 10.

The guard station has been an important piece of Gifford Pinchot National Forest history since 1926. Countless visitors have made the guard station their vacation home over the years, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

"This is a very sad loss to a beautiful and irreplaceable historic structure on the forest and to forest history," said Mt. Adams District Ranger Nancy Ryke. "Losing the structure represents a great loss to our cabin rental program as well."

The Peterson Prairie Guard Station was built in 1926 by Forest Service personnel to replace an abandoned and deteriorated log cabin erected by homesteader John Peters in 1890. The three-room rustic guard station was a popular vacation rental for many years.

"The Peterson Prairie Guard Station was dear to the Forest Service and to the heart of the public," said David Wickwire, recreation program manager for the Mt. Adams Ranger District.

It was ideally located near the Guler Ice Caves, Indian Heaven Wilderness, and Goose Lake. Peterson Prairie Guard Station was one of only two guard stations for rent on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

The remaining guard station is the Government Mineral Springs Guard Station, east of the Trapper Creek Wilderness.

Preliminary information states the fire resulted from a stray ember from the recently swept chimney landing on the roof of the guard station, which then combusted, resulting in the total loss of the guard station. The only remaining parts of the structure are two brick fireplaces.

Fortunately, the fire was quickly contained and did not ignite surrounding brush or trees. As of this date, there are no plans to rebuild the guard station. However, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest hopes to do something to honor the memory of this historic and well-preserved guard station.

For more information, contact the Mt. Adams Ranger District at 395-3400.

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