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Expertly crafted fixtures for county parks

Doug Ramsay photo

Members of the Timber Framers Guild guide the first of two main frames in place being lowered by a crane during construction of the new shelter at Lake Roesiger County Park on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. Below is the built up shelter as seen on Thursday, May 30.

SNOHOMISH — An unusual collaboration is providing new gathering spaces in Snohomish County’s parks.
A picnic shelter raised last week at Lake Roesiger Park marks the first result of a partnership between Snohomish County Parks and Recreation and the nonprofit Timber Framers Guild.
An identical covered shelter made from sturdy wood will be unveiled next year at Whitehorse County Park in Arlington, as well as a stage at Kayak Point County Park in Stanwood.
The Guild, headquartered in Bellingham, agreed not only to build frames for the Lake Roesiger shelter, but also to hold workshops for adults and children.
So for the week before the raising of the new shelter, five guild professionals taught their craft to 35 volunteers from across the country as they constructed frames for the 24-by-30-foot pavilion.
There was also a “Kids Build” event, which drew eight registrants to the Monroe Fairgrounds for a Saturday of making shelter picnic tables.
“Our intent has always been to educate,” said Mack Magee, the Guild’s executive director. “We’re building our community, while building in your community.”
This concept appealed to Thomas Hartzell, a senior Snohomish County parks planner. Hartzell contacted the Guild in 2016 after an “‘aha’ moment” when he realized Lake Roesiger Park needed a new picnic shelter.
“I thought this would be a good fit in a lot of ways,” he said. “They have a construction method to demonstrate. It’s a teaching opportunity, with the very pleasant byproduct of a really cool structure.”
The county signed a $95,000 contract to have the Guild build the Lake Roesiger shelter.
Hartzell said that price is comparable to prefabricated metal shelters — perhaps slightly higher — but well worth it in the long run.
“In my mind it’s not even close, when you view the beauty of the structure, its uniqueness, and its craftsmanship,” he said.
Magee said the Guild promotes a wood-framing style that dates back hundreds of years, and is prevalent especially in northern Europe.
A revival of North American interest in the style led to the formation of the 1,400-member Guild in 1985.
Though the only contract the Guild has signed with Snohomish County thus far is for the Lake Roesiger Park shelter, frames for the Whitehorse Park shelter were also completed last week. It will be raised sometime in 2020.
There’s more to come: The Guild’s Magee said Snohomish Couny Parks and Recreation “awarded the Guild a contract for potentially three other park structures at Flowing Lake Park, Lord Hill Park” and at the Oso Memorial site.
Hartzell said new contracts for Whitehorse Park, and an 8-by-12-foot stage at Kayak Point County Park, are in process.
“Nobody else really does this sort of thing as a business,” he said. “It was very educational, very professional. They were a dream to work with.”
Magee commented by email: “I have to admit that I have never experienced or worked with a brighter or more enthusiastic group of government people. I think (the county’s) Parks and Recreation system is quite a jewel!”



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