Those who helped rebuild Nesika Lodge grateful it's still standi - KPTV - FOX 12

Those who helped rebuild Nesika Lodge grateful it's still standing in Eagle Creek Fire

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Watching the Eagle Creek Fire unfold this week has been difficult for people who helped rebuild the Nesika Lodge.

As fiery images from the Columbia River Gorge made their way to social media, the members of the Trails Club of Oregon wondered whether the Nesika Lodge had burned to the ground.

It wasn't until Friday morning they learned the answer while watching FOX 12.

AIR 12 video showed the historic Nesika Lodge still standing after being surrounded by fire.

"Just not knowing was horrible. And you saw all the people with animals and all the other things they had to worry about. And we didn't have animals. But, we had memories," said Sylvia Milne.

Sylvia serves as historian for the Trails Club of Oregon, founded in 1922.

The Nesika Lodge is almost sacred to the group. They helped rebuild the nearly 100-year-old structure decades ago.

With no access by road, the members carried most of the materials and tools by hand, up a 40-inch wide trail.

George Milne helped oversee the project.

"We started it in 1989, taking down the old one and then rebuilding the new one little by little, one weekend a month for seven months, for 12 or 13 years," said George.

With so much invested, both feared the worst when the first fiery images from the Gorge appeared earlier this week.

While two wooden structures adjacent to the lodge burned to the ground, the lodge has survived.

"We knew if we had a forest fire there, we would probably lose the two wooden buildings. It would be too tough to protect them. But we built that lodge to withstand a fire. So far, from your evidence, it's doing pretty good," said George.

Now, along with everyone in the Pacific Northwest, they wait to see how the rest of the firefight will unfold with so much on the line.

"When you go in the Gorge, the one thing that you feel is that you feel so close to nature. And there's just a mystical peace that comes about," said Sylvia.

Meanwhile, the Milne's say the aerial image of a beloved lodge standing strong, serves as a testament to hope.

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