Nils Lunder, stewardship manager for the Feather River Land Trust, wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty Oct. 3 by offering some assistance working with a small crew from Greg Lopez Construction of Chester, erecting what would soon become the official designated gateway into Chester Meadow for visitors to access the Olsen Barn.
The barn, situated on the east side of Chester and built by Peter Olsen, has been an iconic landmark within the meadow for over 120 years, and is now owned by the Feather River Land Trust since 2015 to preserve the 107-acre property in perpetuity.
The large, wood gateway under construction is part of the Olsen Barn and Meadow project to stabilize the barn, which the Trust has now completed with a new concrete foundation. Also in the works for the barn is replacing missing siding, grading and repairs to the roof.
A parking lot is also planned at the entrance located off Highway 36 just outside town, providing plenty of parking, said Lunder. Motorized vehicles are not permitted inside the meadow.
Log barriers currently surround the parking area, but they might be replaced with a more pleasing cedar fence at a later date, he added.
Lunder said there are no immediate plans to pave the parking lot, as the grass field works well for drainage during the rainy season.
A contract with Dig It Construction to build a road connector from the highway to the parking space will be completed within the next month.
Four additional locked metal gates are also being installed at the site to provide access for emergency vehicles.
The Olsen Management Group that’s overseeing the construction and upgrades to the property decided the ranch-style entranceway would be especially appealing to the public. A sign will be designed to hang below the top beam saying, “The Olsen Barn Meadow.”
Lunder said the build is part of what the FRLT is committed to doing using community-raised funds to enhance and preserve the Olsen Barn property and surrounding habitat.
He estimated that the gateway and parking area would be completed by the end of the year.
For more information on the Olsen Barn project, contact Lunder at the FRLT office at 283-5758; or to contribute to the campaign to restore the Olsen Barn by calling Development Director Karen Kleven at the same number; Also check out Feather River Land Trust’s website to donate at: frlt.org/olsenbarnmanagement .