Ghost Menu

Exploring the world of trails, huts and other shelter systems (e.g. inns, B&B's, hostels, cabins, yurts, tents, pods, tree houses, caves, etc.) supporting long distance walkers & skiers → how they operate around the world → honoring & learning from the people who start & operate them → building international community and conversation → towards a sustainable, environmentally sensitive outdoor accommodations & education infrastructure for USA → all in service to cultivating environmental education and a broad-based ethos of biophilia through immersive experiences in the natural world.

Frew Saddle Bivouac, two bunk bivvy built for NZ Forest Service deer cullers
Asbestos Hut, mining hut, 1914, for 36 years the home of two lovers who exiled themselves here to escape unhappy marriages.
Associated with the 1966-67 Freedom Walks on Milford Track
Blue Range Hut built by Masterton Tramping Club in 1958
Broome Hut In Summer - D Maddox photo
Sutherlands Hut, built 1860's - a former boundary keepers hut
Tarn Ridge Hut, 16 bunk replacement high mountain built by DOC
Sutherlands Hut, interior
Ivory Lake Hut, a science hut constructed to support a team of glaciologists and hydrologists studying this retreating glacier.
Dolent Hut, Swiss Alpine Club. Photo courtesy Marcon Volken.
Sign of the Packhorse Hut, government built (1916) tourism and climbing hut, originally built as one of four backcountry teahouses.
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Mission, aims, beliefs, & perspective’s:

  1. Mission is:

    1. To stimulate and inform an international conversation about the role of hut systems in environmental education and outdoor recreation,

    2. to build community among folks involved with and intrigued by the future of shelter systems for long distance walkers and skiers, and

    3. to stimulate research, information exchange and discussion about what we can learn from colleagues abroad and about the future of huts in the USA.

  2. Aims are:

    A.  Serve as a clearing house for information & reflection about the full scope of, including:

    1. hut and yurt systems for hiking, biking, and skiing in the USA,
    2. what we can learn from hut systems in other parts of the world,
    3. comparative study of the economics, operations, logistics, regulatory environment, and user demographics, &
    4. the geographic, social, cultural, economic, & political context within which hut systems came to exist and are operating today; and relevant trends and issues today.

B. Create community, raise public awareness, and focus a nascent grass roots conversation around the challenges and opportunities:

1. in supporting existing systems in the USA creating more hut systems in the USA, and

2. in connecting the hut community within the USA and worldwide.

C. Stimulate creative thinking about how hut and other shelter systems can:

1. serve the societal imperative of environmental education and creating an ethos of biophilia in the next generation,

2. minimize their environmental impact while lowering barriers of access to human-powered long distance travel, and

3. adapt and evolve in the 21st century to meet the needs of new generations.

3. Beliefs are:

  1. There are likely to be more hut systems built in USA over the next generation.  There is potential to do environmental harm in introducing more people to the back country.  We need to think hard about if, why, how and where we might build more hut systems, and be sure we get it right.
  2. There is plenty of good information available for the users of hut systems. What is needed is information forum for those who are operating, designing, building, or dreaming of hut systems.
  3. Shelter systems have the potential to provide some economic stimulus to rural communities.
  4. The next generation of hut systems may need to be located, designed, and used differently from existing systems.  An imaginative re-thinking of  huts/shelter systems in America could be a useful exercise and should be informed by substantive information from around the world.
  5. should be a community enterprise; broad-based input and diverse perspectives are needed.


4. Perspectives:

Perspective: Sam wears multiple hats in writing about huts, operating variously as:

  1. 1.) a journalist reporting on whats happening out there,
  2. a neutral academic observer trying to make sense of the situation in this tiny arena of human endeavor,
  3. an advocate for more huts in USA and for using them to engender biophilia/environmental ethics in the next generations, and
  4. a community builder to help advance conversation and practices about hut systems.

The hats are switched frequently and often worn simultaneously!