PAULINA, Ore. - A new nonprofit is working to save the more than century-old Rager Ranger Station from being decommissioned.
"We do have a plan to decommission 25 of the 35 buildings out there. So that is the plan we are moving forward with over the coming years,” U.S. Forest Service Public Affairs Officer Patrick Lair said Friday.
Since its closure in 2012, several groups have expressed interest in the site, located on the Paulina Ranger District of the Ochoco National Forest, but none have moved forward with any proposals.
Central Oregon Patriot member Pete Sharp formed the group Historical Rager Ranger Station with the goal of preserving all the buildings.
"Turn it into a year-round facility for everybody to use, and that means if you wanted to take your family out and rent a house in the summer and go hiking, or if you wanted to go out in the winter and take your snowmobiles,” Sharp said.
Lair said the Forest Service welcomes any such ideas.
"If someone really feels strongly that they want to find some other use for the ranger station, we want people to know that we're open to having those conversations," he said. "Please let us know and we'll discuss that with you.”
According to Sharp, plans are still in the early stages.
"The easiest way for it to be taken over would be for (Crook) County to do it," he said. "The Forest Service will maintain the property if we can put something together. It would be a long-term lease.”
The idea of leasing has been tossed around by Crook County officials before. Lair said there is no set date for getting rid of any buildings, and the decision will be based primarily on funding.
The Historical Rager Ranger Station group will host a public meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday March 7 in the Broughton Room of the Crook County Library in Prineville.
More information about the Rager Ranger station, including a time capsule, can be found here: