Constructing a log building in the mountains where the snow fall is heavy proved to be a difficult and frustrating process. Since we know there are other people who have or are considering building such a structure, we felt we should share with you some of the problems and solutions we encountered while building the Carson Pass Information Station.
The log building was the typical dwelling of the American pioneer during the westward expansion after 1765. The walls were formed in a simple, rectangular pattern by laying rough hewn logs on top of each other and notching the corners to keep them in place. When the walls reached the desired height, gable ends were continued to support a ridge beam and a roof. The logs were chinked to keep out the weather. When complete, the log building provides a snug, comfortable place to get out of the weather.
The log building at Carson Pass is not quite the same as a pioneer log building. Its walls are constructed of 7-1/4" incense cedar logs that were turned at the factory to insure standardization and its roof is supported by two 10" diameter end posts and a 12" diameter center post. The roof is made of 1-1/8" CDX floor/roof sheathing covered with metal roofing. The roof rafters are 4" X 12" Douglas Fir set on 24" centers. Each course of wall logs was pinned to the log course below it by pre-drilling a hole through the upper most log into the one below it. Then a 12" length of #4 rebar was driven through the upper most log into the one below it. These were spaced approximately every 18 to 24 inches. The vertical red lines in the model below provides a representation of these pins. The first starter log on the floor is bolted directly to the foundation. Beside every corner, window and door there is a threaded rod (the vertical blue lines in the model below) that ties the top wall log directly to the foundation. The foundation is approximately 4' below ground level on the east end and more than 6' below on the west. The building is approximately 22' by 32'.
The building faces roughly north. Actually, it faces more to the northeast but it is easier to understand the material below if you think of the building as facing north.
To give the building additional strength against the expected pressures of snow build-up on the building's east end (the end closest to the rock wall), a shear wall was installed during construction. This consists of a series of plywood panels above the logs that form the front wall. This sheer wall extends the length of the building.
SNOW PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED
Unfortunately for our on-schedule completion of the construction of the log building, the heavy snow fall that is common at Carson Pass and the snow clearing activities of CalTrans caused a delay. These problems are illustrated on the Snow Problems page.
WE'RE NOT DONE
We now use the log building during every summer's visitor season. But we are not finished with the construction of the building for there are an endless number of modifications and enhancements that could be done. These include:
A lightening rod system.
A fire sprinkler system.
An updated propane lighting system.
A solar powered electric system.
A mural for the longitudinal shear wall.
A rock facing for the foundation walls.
A set of upper window hinged shutters.
Etc., etc., etc., ...
The operation and maintenance of the Carson Pass Building is a joint effort of ENFIA and the Eldorado National Forest.
If you would like to participate in the maintenance of the Carson Pass building, contact ENFIA or Joel Knowles at Fax/Tel (530) 622-4666.