The reconstruction of Norm’s Cabin was no simple feat. The Algoma Highlands Conservancy is forever grateful to all those who stood in the mud, on the timbers, or in support of this effort and to whom the ultimate success of the project is attributable.  The new cabin stands as a shining testament to that collective effort and one in which we can all take immense pride. The completion of this project could not have been accomplished without the support of many dedicated staff, volunteers, and a spectrum of local supporters – both corporate and individuals – who provided financial assistance.  We would like to take a moment to acknowledge this momentous team effort:

It was the approval of a joint proposal to the Federal Development Community Improvement Fund and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation’s Infrastructure and Community Development Fund that provided the bulk of funding required to initiate this project.  Under this program, a direct contribution from the private sector was also required and we are very thankful to our long-term partners at Stokely Creek Lodge (Gaylen and Susan Byker specifically) for fulfilling this requirement and thus allowing us to initiate redevelopment of Norm’s Cabin. Along the way, additional financial assistance or required materials were provided by BioForest Technologies, Soo Mill (the extended Hollingsworth family through their Anniversary Gift Fund), Joe Meating, Michael O’Toole, Paul and Laurie McBay, Dean and Nicolle Thompson and Ron Hann/Karen Streich.

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Richard Kargl considers “What did I get myself into?” after receiving and stacking 120 raw pine timbers.

The most important and special recognition must, of course, go to Richard Kargl, Master Builder in charge of the structural design and construction of the new cabin.  It was his efforts, expertise, ingenuity, skill and persistent dedication to excellence in workmanship that brought the cabin from initial rudimentary drawings, final design and proposal stages, through to the beautiful gem that now stands in the small forest opening on the shores of Bone Lake.  In many respects, this cabin represents a legacy gift to future generations of visitors to the beautiful Algoma Highlands backcountry.  It is a gift that both the Conservancy as owner and facilitator, and Richard himself as builder, can be rightly proud of delivering.  We are confident that it will be appropriately used and greatly appreciated by many people, from both near and far, for many years to come.

Few men stand alone in such accomplishments and we know that Richard, as well as the AHC, want to fully acknowledge the Kargl family who put up with his many long hours of absence from home while focusing his attention on this project, as well as to the contributions and special skills of others on his “rebuild team”.

We are grateful for Owen Blake, acting as right-hand man during the reconstruction, who assisted Richard throughout the build and was a critical contributor to our ultimate success.  Enn Poldmaa provided the expertise required to build the foundation, allowing Richard to focus on the myriad of other elements including preparing, transporting and erecting the timbers and roof to ensure that the cabin was completely closed in before the daunting Algoma winter set in.  We recall with a smile now (not so much then) actually having to break through ice with the pontoon boat as we transported and installed the last materials required for close-in.

Those were challenging days that several members of the reconstruction team endured to make the overall project a success.  In fact, it was the inspired idea of Gaylen Byker, his donation of the pontoon boat and loan of a generator, that allowed us to overcome these as just some of the many logistical issues associated with transporting materials and construction on a remote building site with no road access or power.  Stokely Creek Lodge staff in general, were also supportive and helpful in loaning equipment, muscle power and know-how in several aspects of the project.

Thanks also to Cynthia Marcinkowski, who was hired to  provide support in ordering materials and financial management through the early construction phase of this project.  Sincere appreciation to Tyler Morin and Matthew Fitton from Sault College who were reliable and hard-working student assistants during the first year.  Pascal Tuarze, also a hired summer assistant, went well beyond the call of duty as a very skilled assistant in the second year of the cabin’s development.  He was also one of those who endured some rather dubious crossings of Bone Lake, often amidst a literal boat-load full of materials.

A special thanks is also extended to the many individuals who volunteered extensive amounts of personal time, and in some cases, much more to ensure that the final goal of this project was achieved.  The long list of volunteers (and we sure hope we haven’t forgotten someone) include:  Jennifer and Rob Cross, Laurie and Paul McBay, Nicolle and Dean Thompson, Mitch Comrie, Kees van Frankenhuysen, and Derek Chartrand all of whom provided substantial help in a variety of different ways. Most successful projects require a team of dedicated and skilled individuals, and the AHC would like to express its sincere gratitude to all of the team players noted above for their dedication, time and financial assistance in achieving our goal of redeveloping Norm’s Cabin.

We are very confident that the cabin will provide, for many years to come, a key infrastructural element that strongly facilitates our work in promoting silent sport recreation, environmental education and research, conservation and sustainable land management.

Thank you to one and all who were involved!!

nohfstokelySooMill100   07a6_1333131946BioForest HighRes (2)

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