Building Removal

front-end loader lifts a cabin off its foundation

Heavy equipment was used judiciously in restoration of the Giant Forest.

NPS photo by Athena Demetry

Many of the buildings to be removed dated from the 1930s and contained lead-based paint and asbestos in floor coverings, wall board, pipe insulation, roofing, and other building materials. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury were present in some light fixtures. Removal and disposal of these materials had to conform to strict federal, state, and local regulations.

Smaller cabins were removed by lifting the intact building off its piers with a long set of forks attached to a loader bucket. This was the preferred method, resulting in little additional soil disturbance. Heavier cabins that could not be removed by lifting with forks were often dragged with a chain fastened around the base of the building. Because equipment travel was constrained to designated routes where soils were already compact, this method also resulted in minimal soil disturbance. Sometimes chains were run through doors and windows and the building lifted with the excavator. The largest buildings were demolished in place. Buildings were moved to a central area to be broken up, and the debris either loaded directly into containers or ground into chips using a large tub grinder for transport out of the park.

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