A U.S. Forest Service crew works to replace the nearly 30-year-old roof on the historic building of Skaters Cabin on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A U.S. Forest Service crew works to replace the nearly 30-year-old roof on the historic building of Skaters Cabin on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Skater’s Cabin gets new look

Forest Service re-roofing historic, 1930s-built cabin as part of upgrade

With a lake, glacier and fire pit within sight, the view from Skater’s Cabin has attracted throngs of ice skaters and revelers since the Civilian Conservation Corps built the natural stone refuge in 1936. The glacier has receded since Skater’s Cabin was built, but the view remains world-class.

The cabin itself needs some upkeep. The roof is leaking, managers say, and the site has suffered from vandalism over the years.

Work this week could help. A new roof being installed at the historic cabin should lessen leaks and vandalism, officials said. The new metal roof will keep rain out of the cabin and won’t be easy to rip down, USFS Recreation Program Manager Ed Grossman said. It also will reduce the long-term maintenance needed at the site.

“That was something we’ve been hoping to do the last few years,” Grossman said.

The old roof was made of cedar shake — hand-split, rustic looking shingles. That style of roofing used to be more popular, but is still employed at cabins across Alaska, Grossman said.

At 30 years old, the roof had started to fail, Grossman said. It leaked rainwater and vandals had picked off shingles over the years, most likely to use in the cabin’s fire pit, Grossman said.

The new roof was designed to keep the rustic character of the old roof. That’s actually a requirement. Skater’s Cabin is old enough to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. As such, the Forest Service consulted with a specialist in archeological preservation to make sure the new metal roof looked enough like its wooden predecessor, Grossman said.

The USFS had to stockpile materials before starting construction this week.

“It’s well-worth trying to mimic the original,” Grossman said. “It looks good, too.”

Work should be done by the end of the week, Grossman said, as sunny weather and a large crew have allowed work to progress smoothly.

Skater’s Cabin is the latest in a round of roofing upgrades to USFS cabins and campsites around Juneau. About eight years ago, the USFS tested out the new metal roofing material on the main rental shelter at Auke Recreation Area.

The material performed well, Grossman said, and the Forest Service has since replaced a roof at Auke Village Campground with it. Earlier this year, the Forest Service also replaced a roof at Eagle Glacier Cabin north of Juneau, Grossman said.


• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at kgullufsen@juneauempire.com and 523-2228. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.


Kenzie Schultz, right, and Maxwell Hertel, both of the U.S. Forest Service, work with a crew to replace the nearly 30-year-old roof on the historic building of Skaters Cabin on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Kenzie Schultz, right, and Maxwell Hertel, both of the U.S. Forest Service, work with a crew to replace the nearly 30-year-old roof on the historic building of Skaters Cabin on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

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