Little St. Joe Ski Hut
The Rocky Mountaineers maintain a small unimproved cabin on “Little St. Joe” a point to the east of St. Joseph’s Peak in the Bitterroot Mountains. It was built of logs in the 1970’s by club members Bob Benson and Bill Morgan, to replace a cabin across the Bass Creek drainage at Lappi Lake that was in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness area.
Club members hauled a wood stove up, quite a task considering the cabin is not accessible from any roads or by snowmobile. Unimproved means that the cabin has some unchinked walls, a minimally sheltered pit toilet, and no water. Nor is there a source of water close to the cabin which is generally not a problem as the lease we have with the Forest Services specifies winter use only. That is: when there is snow on the ground. The trail to the cabin is not distinguishable or signed where it leaves the main St. Joseph’s Peak trail.
Last fall (2019) we put a combination lock on the (winter-use-only) Little St. Joe Cabin and asked members to “reserve” it by contacting club officers to put a notice on the club calendar. This was done in an effort to keep cabin use sustainable, minimize overuse and conflict, and better safeguard it from vandalism and misuse.
Per language in the Special Use Permit we have with the USFS, we also purchased liability insurance for the cabin. The Stevensville Ranger District has given their blessing for this change in use approach and verbalized appreciation for our concerted effort to operate in accordance with the Special Use Permit. They said that we can keep the cabin locked, utilize it for members only, and manage our own reservations. A big THANK YOU! goes out to those members that have gone above and beyond in their stewardship of the cabin …you know who you are.
Thank you to all dues-paying members for helping to support and sustain this treasure. Please consider also joining us for our Cabin Work Day in October where we perform maintenance, stock firewood, and socialize!