A cabin built by two game wardens in the Chilcotin 75 years ago has a new permanent location at the 108 Mile Heritage Site.
“The cabin was originally located in the bush by Stobie Lake about 22 kilometres west of the Gang Ranch headquarters,” said Darrell Ashworth of the Conservation Officer Service Cariboo Chilcotin zone, who has been instrumental in finding the cabin a new location where it could be preserved and appreciated for its historical significance.
“I first saw it 10 years ago when I came to the region as a new CO,” Ashworth said. “There was an old game warden cabin in the Flathead River area when I worked there, but during a flood in 1996 it was washed down the river.”
Back in 1941, game wardens Jack Stewart and Walter Gill were tasked by their supervisors to build three cabins in the Cariboo Chilcotin, Ashworth said.
“They built this one in five days and inscribed their names above the cabin door.”
As for the other two cabins, they did not withstand the test of time and became too dilapidated, he added.
After being approached by Ashworth, Pioneer Log Homes of B.C. agreed to move the cabin into Williams Lake from the Chilcotin and on Monday, July 18, moved it to the 108 Heritage Site.
“We lifted it all in one piece at its original location with a forklift and took it down about a kilometre on a road that was made for a goat,” Pioneer’s founder Bryan Reid Sr. said chuckling. “It was quite a challenge but a lot of fun.”
It was dry out when they went out to see if the cabin could be moved, but on moving day it poured rain, he added.
“My brother David Chevigny at Pioneer Logging hauled it in to Williams Lake to our Sugar Cane site,” Reid said.
At the site, they replaced the logs on the bottom and the roof because some of them had deteriorated.
“We restored it to as close to as possible to the original, with the size of the logs,” Reid said, noting the original logs were pine that Stewart and Gill probably dragged from close by using horses.
Reid remembered first seeing the Stobie Lake cabin in 1965 when he needed a place to stay while hunting.
“That’s probably why I build log houses today, because I stayed in little log cabins like that one when my step dad had a trap line,” Reid said.
“It was a wonderful way to live. Those cabins provided shelter away from the elements. Sometimes it was 60 below back in the 60s.”
Reid said he owns an old cot from the Second World War he hopes to donate to go inside the cabin.
“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of Bryan Reid and Joel [Roorda] of Pioneer Log Homes, “ Ashworth said.
“And the 108 Historical Society jumped on board so readily. They’ve all been so supportive and generous.”
On B.C. Day, Aug. 1, the public is invited to attend a rededication of the cabin at the 108 Heritage Site beginning at 11 a.m.
“We will have dignitaries coming and an historic display of old game warden uniforms,” Ashworth said, noting lunch will be served as well.
“It is great how the whole community is coming together on the project. Who would have thought a cabin built 75 years ago would get so much notoriety?”
The cabin story will appear on a future episode HGTV’s Timber Kings show, which showcases the adventures of Pioneer Log Homes of B.C.