Citizens weigh in on NAD cabin options

Vern Schager, a project manager with Art Anderson Associates, led a tour of the NAD cabin last week. - Kevan Moore
Vern Schager, a project manager with Art Anderson Associates, led a tour of the NAD cabin last week.
— image credit: Kevan Moore

A handful of citizens gathered at the NAD Park cabin last week following a structural assessment of the building performed by the local engineering firm Art Anderson Associates.

The structural assessment of the cabin was paid for by the Boy Scouts of America, which operated a store and service center out of the cabin beginning in 1998. After outgrowing the space, the Scouts moved its store to Silverdale earlier this month. The historic building, which is owned by the City of Bremerton, was constructed in the 1940s as a guardhouse for the Naval Ammunition Depot.

Locals are now asking what can or should be done with the cabin?

“I think everyone here is interested in preserving it and the city wants to give folks a chance to save it,” said Bremerton Parks Director Wyn Birkenthal. “It may not be possible, but let’s find out.”

During a walk-around of the cabin, Birkenthal recalled how the city teamed up with the East Bremerton Rotary a few years ago to save the gazebo at Bachmann Park in Manette.

“So, is this (cabin) too big a thing to be saved? Probably not, if you look at that history,” Birkenthal said.

Vern Schager, a project manager with Art Anderson Associates, produced an eleven-page report detailing his findings on the condition of the NAD Park cabin. Structurally, the biggest areas of concern seem to be areas where exterior logs have rotted and the overgrown condition of the roof.

Despite a significant cover of moss, pine needles and sword ferns, Schager said that the roof structure, examined by a visual inspection from underneath in the attic, appears reasonably sound, apart from a small leak just south of the chimney.

“Holy cow,” Schager said during the tour. “I don’t see any reason why they aren’t leaking like crazy.”

The crawlspace underneath the cabin also appears to be dry.

“What was observed was that the crawlspace doesn’t have a vapor barrier and some of the batt insulation at the north edge has fallen down,” Shager wrote in his report.

Rotten logs, on the other hand, can be found at all of the corner extensions of the building and elsewhere.

“The logs is where we have the biggest problems,” Schager said.

To drive that point home, Schager was able to easily plunge a screwdriver into several logs as he gave a tour of the building’s exterior. Schager said sawing off the rotten corners and sealing them from the elements could buy some time to continue to use the building. Eventually, craftsmen familiar with log cabin work can be called in to replace the corners and other rotten sections of logs.

“You would need somebody who has done it before,” he said. “You can’t just have some general contractor come in and start whacking away.”

Bob Dollar, a member of the Bremerton Parks and Recreation Commission, says he took an interest in the building a few years ago and hopes the community will rally to save it and find a new use for the space now that the Boy Scouts are leaving. Following last week’s walk-around of the cabin, Dollar seemed even more optimistic.

As a follow-up to last week’s session on the cabin’s structural condition from the outside, an interior walk-through is slated for 10 a.m. today.


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