To the Editor,
It is a unique experience. The scream of teeth cutting a slab off a log; the sound of a steam engine growling ever more deeply to keep the blade turning. It’s steam that makes the Baldwin engine and the steam donkey special. And steam power is why McLean Mill must continue as a working entity.
The restored assets of McLean Mill are not the play toys of an old boys club (the Industrial Heritage Society) as some would have you think.
They represent thousands of hours of work, incredible ingenuity, and a belief that how sawmills operated in the past is a story that should be told.
At McLean Mill we have so much more than a story.
Yet this is what some want to get rid of.
Many, I believe, support McLean Mill. But they, like me, have remained closeted hoping some of the things rattling around in coffee shop talk might begin to surface.
Restoration of different parts of the community is ongoing. But how to increase visitation numbers, how to increase cash flow? That’s the genie that’s still in the bottle.
Already Mayor Mike Ruttan has suggested “speeder” out trips as a possible offering from the mill. Speeder taxi service for people who want to hike the Log Train Trail from its northern end, who want to climb to the Lookout, who want to see Cameron Lake from the trestles, who want to mountain bike some of the many trails along the rail line. What potential!
What about horseback rides, horse and carriage rides, ATV rides, mountain biking, hikes all co-ordinated from the mill site. A bunkhouse eatery with traditional prepared lunches, a recreational vehicle park close by to encourage longer stays. What about a restored caboose as a unique spartan bed and breakfast offering.
Something could be done with a restored school house-—a traditional lesson in arithmetic, spelling, geography.
These are some knee jerk thoughts I’ve had about what could be offered from the mill site, knowing that they raise many cash and administration questions.
I’m “all aboard” in support of McLean Mill. Hopefully many of the other closet supporters will come forth with ideas and more importantly, implementation logistics.
T. Lyman Jardin,