Volunteers Needed: Mt. Baker Lodge

The Mountaineers are considering the future of Mt. Baker Lodge and are soliciting input and support from the membership as to the best next steps. If operations are to continue as they have since the 1950's, a new core of volunteer stewards must be found.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
Leadership Development Manager
July 27, 2015

After many years of phenomenal service by those on the Baker Lodge Committee, some members are planning to transition out of their current duties. If operations at Baker Lodge are to continue as they have since the 1950s, we must find new volunteers. Otherwise alternative business models will have to be pursued in order for the Lodge to maintain financial and operational viability. It is “gut check” time for the Mountaineers membership as to whether or not this long-time resource for outdoor enthusiasts will remain a volunteer-led and operated entity or will migrate to some other management model, possibly without local control by members.

The  Current Plan

While continuing to operate the facility with volunteers, we are asking for new volunteers to come forward to help maintain the current volunteer-led operations of the lodge.  In addition, over the next twelve months, the Mountaineers will be assessing all options in relation to the future of the lodge and we are looking for new volunteers who can help with this process.

BAKER LODGE’S COMMITTEE NEEDS

If we want to maintain the option of continuing to operate as a volunteer-led enterprise we need new members to supplement and enhance the current Baker Lodge Committee members’ capabilities and - over time - to replace some of them as they step back from their service, as well as to bring in new ideas. About fifteen dedicated volunteers make up the current Committee, but a number of long-time members have expressed an interest in reducing their involvement in the day-to-day operations over the next year; they would be glad to help new members get up to speed.  This provides the perfect opportunity for a smooth transition from the current guard to a new cadre of volunteer leadership.  The institutional knowledge of the current Baker Lodge committee is not only vast, but fascinating!

Volunteer opportunities

Desirable interests and/or skills needed from volunteers to maintain Lodge operations:

  • Leadership: a Chairperson(s) to provide oversight, motivation, and coordination of the entire team
  • Financial oversight/treasurer
  • Marketing
  • Cafeteria or large group cooking
  • Repair, maintenance & capital improvements coordinator
  • Hosting diverse user groups and providing a welcoming atmosphere, while also delegating appropriate tasks to the guests

Looking forward, in addition to recruiting new volunteers and Committee members with the necessary interests and skills listed above, we need to add members with skills in strategic planning for the future. We want to conduct an analysis of our operations (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) to see if we are preparing adequately for the future and using the Lodge in the best ways to meet the needs of the organization and our members.

Benefits and reward

The Mountaineers’ Mt. Baker Lodge provides a retreat setting in the spectacular northern Cascades, offering access to:

  • The Mt. Baker ski facilities
  • Backcountry skiing & snowshoeing in the winter
  • Hiking in the summer 

...and numerous other outdoor  recreation opportunities for those who want to explore, learn from, and enjoy the outdoor recreation opportunities of the Pacific Northwest.  It serves Mountaineer members as well as non-members, individuals and groups (scouts, public & private schools, clubs, etc.), who are willing to form a temporary community; sharing space and tasks in an atmosphere of camaraderie and cooperation.

 Typical Tasks and Obligations

Each year the lodge is used about 70 nights a year, mostly in the winter months. Volunteer “hosts” open and close each weekend and serve as coordinators for the cooperative preparation of nourishing breakfasts and dinners, dish washing, snow shoveling, and general upkeep of the facility. Over the summer, in addition to being open to the public and club members, there are work parties of volunteers to do annual repair, maintenance, and improvements at the lodge.

BAKER LODGE'S VOLUNTEER HISTORY

Volunteers have been the lifeblood of the Baker Lodge from the beginning. Work on the lodge began in the fall of 1956 when the remains of an old barn were burned and topographical information obtained.  The Board appointed the Mt. Baker Building Committee in March 1957 and the Forest Service issued a building permit in June.  Between July and September 25 concrete footings were constructed with the help of 28 volunteers on the day of the pour.  Starting in early 1958 work parties in Seattle milled all beams and posts, which were loaded on a logging truck in June and transported to the building site.  Over 30 volunteers showed up on July 4 to start construction and after an additional 14 work parties the lodge was opened Thanksgiving to a capacity crowd.  Total cost was $12,383.  Since the lodge opened it has been financially self-sustaining.

Baker Lodge Banner Image (winter)

Future Impact of these volunteer roles

This is a tremendous opportunity to shape the future of this historic lodge, and we need people committed to creating a vibrant, financially stable, and well-staffed lodge as weekend volunteers or as Committee members providing oversight and helping to determine improvements to operations. Running the lodge is like running any small business and the experience is incredibly rewarding. 

If you would like to join the exciting task of writing the next chapter of the Baker Lodge story, let us know! Please click here to contact the to explain your interest and answer any questions. This is an important piece of our history that we would love to preserve for future generations!

Baker Lodge in Summer

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