Inter-Laken work receives Honor Award

This year marked the beginning of a four-year restoration project of the historic Inter-Laken resort near Twin Lakes.

More than 60 volunteers joined the restoration team in restoring Inter-Laken’s Dexter Cabin during July.

Project managers were recently recognized by the USDA-Forest Service for excellence and presented with the Regional Forester’s Honor Award.

Next spring the finishing touches will be done and the cabin will either be integrated into the agency’s Cabin and Lookout rental program or become an interpretive site utilizing a partnership with the local historical society. Either option would provide a means to sustain one of Colorado’s most treasured historical legacies.

A lot of ground was covered prior to the onset of the restoration project work. Funding for this project became a reality due to the collaboration and development of partners with the Rocky Mountain Heritage Society and Colorado Preservation, Inc. by Terri Liestman, team leader and Rocky Mountain Region’s heritage program manager.

Liestman and Leadville District Ranger Jim Zornes spent endless hours working with the Twin Lakes Historical Society and community leaders. The town of Twin Lakes is also listed on the National Historic Registry as an historic site.

The restoration project was also a success due to the team’s hard work, collaboration with the volunteers, and leadership. Team members will continue to monitor and maintain the security of the resort’s structures and management of the land in and around the resort.

Management of the land and buildings was under the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) until 1984. The BOR recognized the heritage and recreational opportunities the resort posed but did not have the programs to manage the site in this manner. Through an agreement with the USDA Forest Service, ownership was transferred from the BOR to the San Isabel National Forest in 1984.

The integrity of the structures has held up considerably well through the years, but time and the elements are taking their toll. If restoration efforts did not begin this year, the structures would be irreparable leaving only the broken down physical remains of a forgotten era.

Meticulous planning and pre work by the team has ensured the historical integrity of Dexter Cabin will remain intact. When one enters the cabin, it’s like walking through a time machine portal back to the late 1800s

Inter-Laken Resort was built in 1879 with additional buildings built during the period of 1881-1895. The resort was a remote recreational getaway for the elite across the nation and the world.

Inter-Laken was one of Colorado’s premier late 19th century resorts. It has survived the ravages of time, weather, changes of ownership, and an infinite number of curious visitors. Colorado came close to losing a true legacy. However, the hard work by the restoration team will ensure Inter-Laken will be a legacy for future generations.

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