WILLIAMS - Hull Cabin takes center stage this month as the Kaibab National Forest celebrates its Third Annual Archaeology Lecture Series.
Assistant Forest Archaeologist Michael Lyndon will speak about the history of Hull Cabin tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at the Williams Ranger District. Hull Cabin is the oldest surviving cabin on the Grand Canyon's South Rim. The Kaibab Forest is currently working to make it available to the public as part of the Arizona Cabin Rental Program.
The cabin is currently being restored with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act along with Spring Valley Cabin on the Williams Ranger District; Jump Up Cabin and cabins at Big Springs and Dry Park on the North Kaibab Ranger District.
Deirdre McLaughlin, recreation forester with the Kaibab Forest, said the Cabin Rental Program is not limited to Arizona but is a nationwide program.
"Forest Service historic buildings, look-out towers and the like are available for rental," she said. "They are available for rental for a fee and you get amenities."
McLaughlin went on to say the Forest Service is required under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act to go through a Recreation Resource Advisory Council (RRAC) review process for all projects that will eventually garner fees.
The Forest Service will give its final RRAC presentation March 18 in Sedona.
Once the Kaibab Forest gains RRAC approval, Hull Cabin will be listed on the National Recreation Reservation System. McLaughlin expects the Cabin to be available for rental by July.
"We'll find out if we get approval from the RRAC Board to charge the fees we're intending to charge," McLaughlin said. "Once we get our ducks in a row it will become available for rental."
Some of the necessary restoration work to make Hull Cabin rental ready includes restoration of historic interiors, stone foundation repair, exterior staining, roof repair and wood stove replacement.
Hull Cabin was the home of William Hull, a sheep rancher and entrepreneur tourist guide for the Grand Canyon from the mid-1880s to the 1890s.
In approximately 1880, Williams Francis Hull and his brother Phillip Jr. established the ranch about one mile south of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, on which Hull Cabin was situated. With John Hance, William Hull led the first recorded tour of Grand Canyon in 1884.
In 1893, Hull Cabin and the ranch became part of the Grand Canyon Reserve. Hull gave up his sheep ranch, moving into the mining business. The property, including the cabin became the property of the federal government. Hull Cabin was converted to a ranger station where Forest Service Ranger George Reed was stationed.
On March 18, South Kaibab Zone Archaeologist Neil Weintraub will discuss how the Kaibab Heritage team worked with fire specialists to protect sites during the 2009 wildfire season.
Weintraub said archaeologists are involved in almost every wildfire suppression effort in the region.
"Whenever we have these wildfires, we assign archaeologists to these fires," he said. "Basically, we serve to minimize the impact because in many cases we know where the archeological sites are in this area. We work with the fire team to prevent the loss of these sites. The crews work really hard to wrap the historic structures that we have on the forest. We wrap them with fire shelters. That happens almost every fire."
Along with the lecture presentations, Kaibab archaeologists will lead interpretive hikes to the Keyhole Sink Petroglyph site every Saturday in March. The hikes begin at 2 p.m. at the Oak hill Snow Play area west of Parks on Route 66. Due to heavy snowfall this winter, forest officials expect the waterfall adjacent to the petroglyphs to be running at full strength.
The hike is approximately is 1 ½ miles roundtrip and conditions will be wet and cold. Those wishing to attend are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather. For more information, contact the Williams Ranger District at 928-635-5600.