WELCOME TO ASPEN RANGER (GUARD) STATION
The photo to the right was taken in October 1942. The cabin was built between 1938-1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). As you can see in this photo, the back part of the cabin was originally a garage. The toilet was an outhouse and there was no shower; possibly no running water either. It was modified at some point (date to be researched) to add a bathroom with a flushing toilet, and two additional rooms. It was probably during that period that it had electrical functions as noted by the electrical plug-ins, but it would have been operated by a generator which could not have been efficient or financially feasible.
Water is pumped from a well that is supplied by a natural spring above the cabin. It is not potable (not for drinking or cooking). The pump is operated by the solar panels you see east of the cabin. The batteries and water tanks are in the basement under the cabin.
The Jersey Jim Foundation, an all-volunteer organization, has been successfully operating and renting the Jersey Jim Fire Tower for over 30 years under a permit and in partnership with the Forest Service. We applied for the permit to operate/maintain and rent Aspen Guard Station as soon as the Forest Service put out the news that this was the next step for the cabin. We were granted the permit to the cabin for public rental in 2018. There wasn’t much time to do more than an assessment of improvements that would need to be done in order to rent to the general public. There were several issues that needed to be addressed before it would be ready for rentals.
We spent much of 2019 in preparation for rental, but a forest fire (Burro Mountain Fire) closed much of the forest for a time which delayed our work. That and we needed to raise funds for appliances, mattresses, etc. Of course, 2020 nothing opened but a few of us did what maintenance we could and continued to plan for opening. In that summer we had to remove the woodstove that had been used for heat and the old, worn out cookstove. We purchased and installed the heaters and the new cookstove. The Forest Service supplied and installed a new hot water heater and the new flooring in the back entry and bathroom.
The cabin will operate much the same as the fire tower. We make sure it’s clean, well-supplied and ready to use when we open in the spring. We expect our renters to appreciate the senior age of the facility and treat it gently. We also expect it to be self-sustaining. By that we mean that it will be cleaner than it was when you walked in the door for the next guest. Without that philosophy, we could not keep the rent as reasonably low as it is with no cleaning deposit and open for as many days during the season. It allows our volunteers to focus on the major maintenance that is needed on the few workdays set aside for that.
Our volunteers love this cabin and our national forest. Many of us grew up camping, fishing, hiking and hunting all over these great and beautiful acres with our grandparents, our parents and now our children and grandchildren. Many have been employees of the Forest Service and are retired or pursuing new ventures. Many are new to the area but have come to love it as much as the rest of us do. We love what we do, we love that we can do it and we love sharing it with you. AND, we love that you appreciate it as much as we do. Thank you.
/s/ The Volunteers of the Jersey Jim Foundation