Mitchell County Pinican Cabin and Bridge

posted on Monday, June 12, 2017

Members of the Mitchell County Conservation Board have announced additional restoration plans for the Pinican Alders cabin and bridge located in the Pinican Alders Wildlife Area. 

Thanks to a $10,000 Community Care grant from Iowa Select Farms, the Board will be adding new windows, six bunks, a wood stove, and a table to the cabin. The funds are also earmarked for building new abutments for Pinican Alders swinging bridge, installing new cables and decking and raising the bridge’s elevation.

“The Pinican cabin has been undergoing restoration off and on for about three years as we’ve been able to piece together funds,” says Adam Shirley, director of the Mitchell County Conservation Board. “Numerous projects to help save the cabin have already been completed and the Iowa Select Farms’ grant enables us to continue those efforts.

“Prior to the start of the restoration activities, the Board was actually contemplating tearing down the cabin because it was in pretty poor shape,” Shirley says. “But a group of people from the surrounding areas came together and decided to save it.”

A group of local Boy Scouts began construction of the cabin in 1949 using wood from the surrounding trees. Fr. George Schmitz, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, organized the troop with the goal of having the boys build the cabin to learn cooperation, persistence, and success. The troop finished the cabin in two years with the help of a single horse to pull the logs to the building site.

The cabin is used today for camping, picnics, family adventures, and youth meetings. Equestrian riders, trout fishing enthusiasts, hunters, and bikers from Iowa and Minnesota come to the Pinican cabin to enjoy a safe outdoor attraction.

“The restoration projects show how community partnerships can work to make areas special for everyone,” Shirley says. “It has taken time, money, and a lot of dedication to restore the old Pinican cabin, but to those who hold memories of the cabin, it has all been worth it.”

The Pinican Alders Wildlife Area is comprised of 330 acres of mature hardwood forest, native prairie and grasslands. The Wapsi River flows through the area and is stocked with trout by Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The area also has a newly Amish-built log cabin available for rent. For more information, contact the Mitchell County Conservation Board at 641-732-5204.