A team of volunteers was out in the Rossland Range Recreation Site over the weekend, finishing off most of the construction on the new Sunspot shelter.
Approximately 50 people have contributed to the construction of the new shelter, which as of Saturday morning was nearly complete. Paneling on the inside needed to be finished and there was material that still needed to be attached to the gables. “But the main thing is installing the stove, so that we can start heating it up, drying it out and then getting the floor sealed,” said Raymond Gaudart, one of the volunteers working on the new shelter. “Then once the stove is in and the floor is sealed, pretty well everything else is optional — oh and the railing, finishing the stair railing.”
Like the other new shelters built by the Friends of the Rossland Range, the new Sunspot has an outhouse, woodshed and is built to be rodent proof. But Sunspot is also completely insulated.
“Because we don’t have a lot of firewood readily available here, we figured it was best to make it so that we needed an absolute minimum to warm it up and keep it warm,” said Gaudart.
The walls and floor are insulated with blue foam, while the roof is insulated using ROXUL insulation from Grand Forks.
As part of the project, volunteers also deconstructed the old Sunspot cabin, leaving nothing behind, but reusing as much as possible. “We had [a] minimal amount of waste going out from the old site — one load essentially,” said Gaudart. The sides and roof of the woodshed were made using the roofing from the old cabin, as were the sides of the bottom of the outhouse.
Snow has already started falling in the Rossland Range, and Sunspot will offer a relatively short-range trip for snowshoers and skiers. Brenda Gill, one of the volunteers working on Sunspot, uses the shelters when she’s out on her light touring cross country skies, headed for Lepsoe Basin. She said coming out to the Rossland Range is a good way for skiers to get some fresh powder, and over the past four years or so she’s also seen a lot more snowshoers come out. But she wants to remind snowshoers that they should be laying their own track — the fish scales cross country skiers use to climb in the backcountry don’t grip as well if snowshoers walk over their track.
The new Sunspot is located not far from where the old Sunspot was on the south side of Highway 3B in the Strawberry Pass. To reach the new shelter, snowshoers and skiers should follow the Seven Summits trail up to where it connects with the logging road leading to Lepsoe Basin. Across the logging road from the trail is a short path that leads to the new Sunspot.