Project Looks to Future for Historic Fish Lake Site
By John Hayes
The Oregon Historic Trails Advisory Council (OHTAC) is collaborating with Friends of Fish Lake, the U.S. Forest Service and other potential stakeholders in a fascinating project at Fish Lake, approximately 34 miles northwest of Sisters.
The first structure at Fish Lake was a roadhouse built in 1867 by the Willamette Valley and Cascade Mountain Wagon Road Company to accommodate travelers along the Historic Santiam Wagon Road. Fish Lake was first used by the Forest Service in 1905 as a ranger outpost and later as a dispatch headquarters for the former Santiam National Forest. The Remount Depot originally served as a field office where Forest Service personnel could rest their pack animals and stock up on supplies. The last pack string passed through the site in 2005. Several structures still remain at Fish Lake, including the dispatcher’s cabin, which was built in 1921.
The project calls for site interpretation and restoration, protection and maintenance of the historic structures. One exciting component of the project is the development of the Fish Lake Cascades Institute and History Center. The Institute will offer instruction in a broad array of subjects, including outdoor survival skills, stock handling techniques, geology and hydrology of the Central Cascades and a cultural history curriculum.
OHTAC looks forward to its involvement in this most worthwhile project, particularly as it relates to the Historic Santiam Wagon Road, which runs through the Fish Lake complex. The Wagon Road is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of Oregon’s 16 Historic Trails.
Additional information can be found at fishlakehistoricsite.org
John Hayes is the current chair of the Oregon Historic Trails Advisory Council.