Former area photographer seeks help in saving historic lodge/hostel

Darcy Kolander | Staff writer
Erik Barstow, left, one of this area's most well-known photographers, has returned to Polk County after his business on the east coast was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Rattle River Lodge and Hostel sits on the Appalachian Trail, against the backdrop of the Carter-Moriah Mountain Range in New Hampshire and is gateway to the Presidential Range of the White Mountains. Built in 1877, this renovated New England colonial home on 7.4 acres does not lack for services, amenities, or modernity, while still keeping its original charm. – Photos provided
NEW HAMPSHIRE/POLK COUNTY - Erik Barstow, one of this area's most well-known photographers and a former Marine, has returned to Polk County after his business on the east coast was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Being home and quarantining has been different this time, as Barstow is used to visiting friends and family.
In the spring of 2014 he decided to invest in a hostel Bed and Breakfast, naming it the Rattle River Lodge & Hostel in Shelburne, New Hampshire, located on the Appalachian Trail.
Barstow, a St. Croix Falls native whose photography was featured in the pages of the Leader for years, said he is hoping to get some help through the SBA Disaster Relief but the process has been slow and that money is mostly intended for retaining employees with not much help towards day-to-day operations.
In addition to the Covid-19 crisis, there is a 50-year-old stream that splits off the Rattle River into Barstow’s backyard that fills a pond that guests know and love. The infrastructure that controls the amount of water to the stream is destroyed due to previous storms causing advanced erosion. The state approved a limited use permit (with zero funding) to allow Barstow to add some protections to keep the water from flooding the hostel but he was relying on this year’s profit to build a protective barrier to help with future flooding.
To cover the operating costs, insurance, taxes and create proper protection barriers, the estimated cost is currently hovering around $25,000. Due to the extenuating circumstances, we are all facing in the current climate, he won’t be able to come up with the funds required to perform these necessary repairs. With the financial means required, we will be able to hire the right people and obtain the right equipment and materials to protect the hostel. The rest of the funds will go to keeping the lights on until he is able to resume normal operations.
"I am humbled by your continuing love and support, and feel reluctant to reach out during these challenging times. I know as a community we will emerge strong and keep Rattle River alive for all the future campfires and memories,” said Barstow.
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