Remnants of historic cabins removed from National Park

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service cleans up century-old remnants in Inyo National Forest

SPRINGVILLE – Park employees finally cleaned up the mess left by the 2020 Castle Fire when they removed the remnants of a historical cabin which burned to the ground.

Metal material lined the ground where the Grey Meadow Guard Station once stood, nestled away in the Golden Trout WIlderness. The 106 year-old cabin was burned to the ground in a wildfire two years ago. On Sept. 7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service reported that these remnants were finally removed with the help of Western Divide Ranger District personnel, a student trail crew and an experienced packer. This act will help the land return to natural conditions.

“We appreciate the support our partners provided for this clean up,” stated District Ranger Eric LaPrice in a news release. “The help of the SCA crew and the pack string was critical to its success.”

The clean up crew loaded up roughly 40 bags and “several hundred pounds of metal” over the course of three days. They transported the remnants down the mountain by a pack string led by a packer that came all the way from Stanislaus National Forest to help. Forest Service personnel will be monitoring the area to determine if other measures are needed to get the area back to its natural conditions. 

Grey Meadow Guard Station was burned in the devastating Castle Fire that  not only ravaged age-old cabins, but engulfed 10% to 14% of all Sequoia trees in the Sierra Nevada range, according to the National Park Service. That translates to 10,000 trees decimated. Cartographic Technician Josh Flickinger  concluded 9,531.12 grove acres burned, and roughly 50% burned at low severity, while the other 50% burned at moderate or high severity. 

“Fire officials had to forgo any attempt to insert firefighters into the area to protect structures in the path of the fire,” stated LaPrice in a press release from 2020. “Firefighter safety had to come first.”

The Castle Fire was a result of a lightning blitz in August of that year, according to the National Park Service’s preliminary estimates. Grey Meadow Guard Station was not surrounded by many trees, which suggests an ember from the wildfire ignited the cabin, according to a press release from the Forest Service in 2020.

Grey Meadow Guard Station was built in 1916 for just $90. Its sides were constructed from sugar pines, with paneling split by hand with a froe and mallet. Mountain Home Cabin was also destroyed in the same fire, and was built in the 1930s for firemen. The redwood-framed cabin maintained its original kitchen cabinets and wooden floors. It was used by many passersby, especially those gathering cattle in the high mountains. Now, the two cabins are reduced to ash.

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