For the past 20 years Enterprise has boasted one of the grandest ranger stations in the U.S. Forest Service system. The home of the Wallowa Valley and Eagle Cap ranger districts as well as many other federal offices, the building also doubled as a visitor center and served as a beacon and entryway to Enterprise and the Wallowa wonderland.
Sadly, the 20,000-square-foot log building has been reduced to rubble, destroyed by a Sunday afternoon fire. The leased log structure went up in flames and was quickly and completely consumed.
What a terrible loss for Enterprise, for Wallowa County and for the Forest Service — not to mention the public and the building’s owner. About 70 people worked in the building, and thousands visited every year to get a taste of the Wallowa country and its fabulous scenery.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Let’s hope that the fire was accidental and not arson. It would make the loss even more hard to bear to think that someone had it in for the building or the agencies and people who worked there.
Whatever the cause of the fire, though, we hope the owner of the building, a company in Chelan, Wash., will not hesitate to rebuild. The multi-functional building in just two decades became a Wallowa County landmark, one everyone could be proud of. It needs to rise again.
Scout project serves public
Frequently in The Observer readers can find out about the good work local Eagle Scout candidates do through their Eagle projects. Always, it seems, the projects serve important purposes.
But recently we ran a story about Benjamin Walker, who built two ATV loading ramps at the Mount Emily Recreation Area. Another nice project, you might think. But it’s even more than that. Walker was responding to a need. A year ago a local woman, Vera Pender, was killed in an accident while loading her ATV at the MERA. Apparently a high percentage of ATV accidents occur while loading and unloading. Installation of the ramps means that riders won’t have to bring their own. The
8- by 12-foot, 32-inch-high ramps will provide greater stability — and safety
MERA will be attracting more and more ATV users as word about the area spreads. The ramps will make their visits safer as they unload and load. If the availability of the ramps saves one life, it’s well worth the effort. Walker should be commended for coming up with a project that enhances public safety.