Old Barns, Railroad Ties and Strawbale- Alternative and Recycled Building Efforts at the All Outdoors South Fork Property

Posted February 16, 2006 by Robyn Suddeth

that made periodic trips out to the South Fork American River this summer and therefore also past the All Outdoors office and property in Lotus, may have noticed the following progression in our parking lot: grass, lots of dirt piles, flat dirt, lots of dirt piles, flat dirt, lots of dirt piles,… And behind all those dissappearing and reappearing dirt piles, a small structure slowly emerging from different stacks of mud and hay.

Understandably, these visitors may have become a little confused by this progression. They may have asked themselves at one time or another, “What in the AO Lotus Property- Blog 029.jpgworld are those crazy All Outdoors folks up to over there?” Well, as much as playing around with tractors and other heavy machinery is definitely an attractive pastime for some All Outdoors employees, what we are “up to over there” is actually a much more in-depth, interesting, and, for lack of a better descriptor: very cool project.

There are actually between two and three developments currently underway at the All Outdoors Lotus property on the South Fork American. All of them are meant to improve the property and ready it to serve as our new guest meet and put-in location, while also showcasing various methods of environmentally-friendly construction and landscaping.

As for the dissappearing dirt piles, which have actually now turned into a much nicer-looking lot composed of a river-rock and gravel mixture, they were the first few steps in preparing the ground for the parking lot and meeting plaza that is to be built on top of it. The structure slowly emerging from stacks of mud and hay is now a beautiful strawbale hut, to be used as a check-in area for guests in the morning, and possibly later a small store.

A majority of the materials used in the building of both these structures are recycled, which is where old barns, railroad ties, and strawbale all come in: Over the last few years, the Armstrongs have recruited several guides to come along on some pretty epic materials collection missions, in which they set out to old barns and other various sites scheduled for demolition, and salvaged whatever wood, sheet metal and other materials that might be of use on the AO property.

Other recycled materials collected have included railroad ties from Donner Pass for the parking lot and meeting plaza, mud dug up from the property for use in building the strawbale check-in structure, and river rock from our very own American River.

Not to diminish any one of these projects, I won’t attempt to share all the details of each story here in this one blog. Over the next few days I’ll write in more depth about those epic barn missions, and the strawbale project. My goal here was to give everyone a heads up and to let you all know to come check out the property sometime this year… even if you are hardcore and hardly ever come down to that river of your youth, the friendly South Fork. Plus there are some pretty cool people hanging out in Lotus, and if you come early enough there may still be some tractors and heavy machinery lumbering about.


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