During the winter of 1993-1994 the Friends of West Kootenay Parks Society became increasingly aware of the deteriorating condition of the Silver Spray Cabin. This cabin is situated in the Woodbury Creek drainage of Kokanee Glacier Park. Several timber frame companies had shown interest in providing plans and being involved in the construction of a cabin. B.C. Parks was consulted and with their blessing we began to formulate a plan for replacing Silver Spray. Both timber frame companies were contacted about possible plans and product. Hamill Creek Timber Wrights of Hamill Creek were chosen to complete drawings and formulate a construction plan. At this point we realized that this was a major project for a small volunteer group of friends! Several committees within the Society were formed to start planning, fund raising and scheduling. By late June working blueprints were being studied, major fund raising had started and work party weekends were being penciled in on the calendar. Now all that was needed was for the snow to melt at the site! On July 12 we flew to Silver Spray to assess snow depth, cabin tear-down logistics and the possibilities of using the stable for a kitchen. On the weekend of July 22/23 we flew into the site with 8 strong young people and began the task of tearing down the existing structure. By mid-day Sunday the original structure was completely levelled and useful wood piled separately. As the building was being demolished the stable was being turned into a first rate, rustic kitchen. The following weekend saw 26 persons excavate trenches for the stone and mortar footings, and then build the walls which were 90% completed in about 15 hours. An incredible work party organized by Dan Harlow had moved some 15-18 tons of rock and mixed 150 bags of premixed concrete!
We had decided that we must provide all volunteers with food and transport to the site in exchange for their hard dedicated work. Virtually all work parties were flown in Friday evenings by Canadian Helicopters and then all people walked out Sunday afternoon. We were fortunate in getting reductions in food costs at local stores, but even so, the food costs were substantial! We also obtained discounts, reductions and donations of material and equipment from companies and private citizens throughout the West Kootenays. On August 26 we assembled in the Woodbury parking lot to fly in the timber framers and their building. It was not to be, as rain and fog cancelled any chance of flying! But the next day was clear and hot, and 30 people and 10 tons of timber frame were flown in during the day. The two helicopters made 46 trips from the parking lot! In fact we had 36 people at the site; construction began at 11:00 a.m. and by 3:30 p.m. the next day, the timber frame was up and officially blessed. During the month of September, weekend work crews of from 12 to 20 persons completed sheathing-in the roof, complete with steel roofing. Walls were constructed using the layering method, starting from the outside edge of the vertical timbers. First, 1″ x 4″ T & G sheathing, then vapour barrier, 2 ~A” rigid foam insulation, heavy roofing felt, strapping and finally 1″ x 10″ channel siding. Because of the layering of materials, the project took longer than expected but the insulation value is extremely good. The month of October saw completion of the walls with windows and doors framed in and placed. Work continued in the interior with 2″ x 6″ T & G flooring on both floors. The back porch was walled in and storage areas built. Cabinets built and donated by Mark Hamilton were put in the kitchen area. Tables, benches and chairs were constructed. A propane heater stove donated by Kootenay Wood Stoves and Vermont Castings was installed and a wood heater stove, propane lights and counter elements were installed. By late November several more shelter work parties had completed work and the new Silver Spray “Chalet” was ready for the ski season. A clean up work party in late spring of 1995 completed clean up projects, staining and sealing of inside wood and any other items needing attention.
The successful completion of this large project was only possible because of many many volunteers from all over the Kootenays. In particular, the donation of over 90% of the wood for the building including all timber frame material by Meadow Creek Cedar made this project possible. I personally brought up the picture of the original miners cabin.