Galena Lodge

Galena Lodge, located 23 miles north of Ketchum, offers a variety of winter activities.

Galena Lodge is cracking to fix a foul situation, following the failure of the building’s septic system, according to the Blaine County Recreation District.

Last week, the BCRD’s board released $52,000 in emergency funds to replace the failed field, which was flooded beyond function by the rising water table at the base of Gladiator Creek.

“The bottom line is, it’s impossible to fix,” BCRD Executive Director Jim Keating said on Monday. “We have to find a new field.”

There’s limited time to do that before the lodge’s planned opening for the winter season on Nov. 23—and the window is cinched tighter by cold temperatures and sporadic snowfall at the higher elevations.

Keating is optimistic that the work—“a couple-week endeavor”—will be done by the Thanksgiving holiday. With the lodge built at the mouth of a narrow canyon, suitable land in the area is hard to come by. But the BCRD and its engineers have identified a suitable site.

And, the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the land, is on board—with the project, and its accelerated timeline.

“You can’t just go out and build a septic field on Forest Service land,” Keating said. “But they’ve been amazing to work with on this. They’ve handled this with great expedience.”

Keating isn’t sure why the water table flushed into the lodge’s septic field. A smaller version for the caretakers’ house across state Highway 75 failed, too. The deep snowpack could be a culprit, though it’s just as likely shifting flows down the mountainside changing course. The new site is farther up the slope. Keating said crews will start work this week, before the ground freezes, or more snow falls. Overnight lows at the lodge are expected to dip into the teens.

“We can’t waste a day,” Keating said. “The weather is coming, and as we all know, up there it comes quickly.”

Email the writer: mdee@mtexpress.com

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