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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Applications ready for Red Ives cabin rental

PUBLIC LANDS -- Here's another wake up call for anyone contemplating a summer Forest Service cabin or lookout rental.

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests St. Joe Ranger District is accepting applications through February for a lottery to select reservation rental dates for the popular Red Ives Cabin.

The rental season for the former ranger home along the St. Joe River is Memorial Day weekend through September.

Most federal lands cabin and fire lookout rentals as well as camping reservations are handled online or by phone through, the national first-come-first served reservations system.

For example, the Surveyor's Ridge Lookout rental in the mountains high above the St. Joe is handled by the national system, allowing reservations to be made up to 180 days in advance.

However, the Red Ives Cabin, which includes a former ranger home, is handled locally in a lottery drawing.

More than 400 applications were submitted for 50 reservations in 2012 (and 500 applications for the 50 slots in 2013), said District Ranger Wade Sims.

Click here for a previous post on renting the popular Kelly Creek Cabin and other sites on the Clearwater National Forest.

Read on for details on applying for the Red Ives Cabin, Surveyor's Lookout and the Clarkia Bunkhouse. 

Red Ives Cabin lottery applications

Obtain lottery applications online at the Idaho Panhandle National Forests website by selecting the Red Ives Quick Link or from Forest Service offices in St. Maries and Avery.

Mail applications by the end of February to: St. Joe Ranger District, ATTN: Red Ives Cabin Rental, 222 S. 7th St. Suite 1, St. Maries, ID 83861.

Successful applicants will be notified by mail by the end of March.

Cabin rental dates not booked through the lottery process will be available on a “first-come” basis and will be posted on the cabin web site the first week of April.

Info: St. Joe Ranger District office in St. Maries, (208) 245-2531.

Clarkia Bunkhouse reservations

The Clarkia Guest Bunkhouse can accommodate up to 19 people making it ideal for groups and families. This is the only rental site on the IPNF available on a year around basis. Located close to the Emerald Creek Garnet Area the bunkhouse makes a great place to stay after digging for Garnets all day.

Reservations: St. Joe Ranger District at (208) 245-2531.

Surveyor’s Lookout reservations

Surveyor’s Lookout is perched at 6,000' elevation on top of Surveyors Ridge. This 30 foot tower overlooks the spectacular Mallard-Larkins Pioneer Area, Snow Peak and the surrounding mountains. Snow Peak, Middle Sister and Mallard Peak Lookouts are still standing and can be seen from Surveyors. The lookout is available for rental from Mid-July to the end of September.

Reservations online at or call (877) 444-6777.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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