News Roundup -- Cabin work logs progress/Help sought on city roads

Cabin work logs progress

Old saws cut them down and a horse team hauled them out. Now more able hands are needed to strip and clean the fresh logs that will soon replace the rotting ones sagging in the walls of Camp Yeomalt’s cabin.

“Log de-barking is a high priority now,” said local historian Jerry Elfendahl, who has led Team Yeomalt’s restoration of the 71-year-old cabin at Camp Yeomalt Park. “Log peeling is well under way (but) there is more to do. We can use a hand.”

Team Yeomalt hopes to enlist volunteers to help pry the bark off the fresh logs and scrape them clean this Thursday and Saturday. Volunteers needn’t be calloused, brawny or skilled in logger’s arts.

“They don’t have to be muscled (or) experienced to help with the logs,” Elfendahl said.

A variety of tasks await all levels of physical prowess and skill, including scraping the inner fibers of de-barked logs and bark hauling, he added.

Built in 1935, the cabin was a federal Works Progress Administration project employing jobless young men. It has served as a Boy Scouts meeting hall and campsite for most of its years.

Elfendahl and other preservationists organized Team Yeomalt to save the cabin after the park district announced it would dismantle the building last year.

The group is working to shore up the cabin’s foundation, replace rotting logs and stabilize the building’s stone fireplace. Team Yeomalt’s efforts also led to the cabin’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

Over the last few months, volunteers have harvested and hauled trees using old logging methods. These trees are now undergoing drying and other processing for later use as replacement logs in the cabin’s walls.

Island woodsman and boat builder Dave Ullin has been training volunteers in various old-time woodworking techniques, including the use of spuds, slicks, peevies, draw knives, snubbing chains and pole jacks.

Team Yeomalt showed an exhibit of its work and the cabin’s history to cyclists during the Chilly Hilly ride on Sunday.

“We had great story-telling and fun,” Elfendahl said of the event and the several hundred cyclists who stopped by the cabin.

Elfendahl expects the next contingent of cabin helpers to include a group of island realtors. The employees of the island’s John L. Scott real estate office have signed on to help Thursday. The office is the first business to assist in the cabin’s restoration effort.

“I have fond memories of the cabin that came rushing back,” said island native and John L. Scott’s Sid Ball, whose father was a scoutmaster at the cabin. “I was very small, but it seemed like a grand kind of wild country setting with the fire burning and the dark and the smoke. Hopefully, we can restore it.”

Elfendahl hopes others will join in. He stresses that weather shouldn’t be a deterrent thanks to a giant tent erected for log processing.

“We want people to come, rain or shine,” he said. “Follow the smell of coffee and the sound of laughter coming from the log yard.”

To lend a hand, call Elfendahl at 842-4164. Thursday’s bark removal work party begins at 1 p.m. at the cabin on Grand Avenue. Saturday’s work begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m.

– Tristan Baurick

Help sought on city roads

The city is forming a new citizen committee to review a wide range of transportation standards and proposed projects.

“We’d like to look at where streets connect, how wide they should be, nearly everything, including the kitchen sink,” said city Public Works Director Randy Witt.

The outcome of the 90-day committee could help the city avoid conflicts when city transportation policies run counter to neighborhood values.

“If we, as a city, had this committee before and had (new) guidelines, Kallgren Road might have looked different,” he said, referring to a Rolling Bay neighborhood’s objections to a proposed link between a quiet residential road and a major island thoroughfare.

The new citizen committee could help the city set new guidelines more consistent with residents’ values. He hopes a wide range of islanders volunteer for the committee, including non-motorized transportation advocates, artists, residents of Kallgren Road and people from all corners of the Bainbridge map.

The committee will meet twice a month with a facilitator to establish guidelines and a public process to review transportation standards on the island.

After the initial committee’s review of standards, the city will employ an individual or firm to help apply transportation standards to city and development projects. At the conclusion of this effort, new ordinances, policies and standards may be adopted and implemented.

According to Witt, key transportation issues set for committee discussion have emerged during recent City Council deliberations, while many others have been identified by city staff.

For more information, contact Randy Witt, Public Works Director, at 780-3707, or visit the city’s web site at

– Tristan Baurick

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