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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.

Sign of the Packhorse Hut, government built (1916) tourism and climbing hut, originally built as one of four backcountry teahouses.
Dolent Hut, Swiss Alpine Club. Photo courtesy Marcon Volken.
Red Hut, built by Rodolf Wigley, tourism pioneer and entrepreneur, c. 1916
Asbestos Hut, mining hut, 1914, for 36 years the home of two lovers who exiled themselves here to escape unhappy marriages.
Tarn Ridge Hut, 16 bunk replacement high mountain built by DOC
Waipakihi Hut, Lockwood style architecture, NZ Forest Service
Sutherlands Hut, interior
Broome Hut In Summer - D Maddox photo
Blue Range Hut built by Masterton Tramping Club in 1958
Roaring Stag Lodge II, originally built by a club, NZ Deerstalkers Association, over a period of four years.  Rebuilt by DOC in 2005.
Ivory Lake Hut, a science hut constructed to support a team of glaciologists and hydrologists studying this retreating glacier.
Associated with the 1966-67 Freedom Walks on Milford Track
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Archive | Essays

New Zealand Huts

Shelter from the Storm – Introduction to a book about history of New Zealand Huts

Below is a reprint of the “Introduction” to the book:  Shelter From The Storm: The Story of New Zealand’s Backcountry Huts 2012, Craig Potton Publishing, Nelson, NZ. Text and most photographs by Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown, and Geoff Spearpoint. Embedded below is the 14 page, beautifully illustrated “Introduction”, by Shaun Barnett, to the remarkable book […]

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NYT Opinion Piece: Right to Roam in USA?

In the April 23, 2016 New York Times Ken Ilguna makes a case for implementing “Right to Roam” laws in USA similar to those in England, Sweden, and other European nations.  Along the way he provides some useful comparative perspective on how different nations handle right to roam.  In the end he acknowledges that right to […]

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News: Great New Yorker article about Via Alpina and the hut-to-hut experience

Poet, writer and walker James Lasdun has published a wonderful exploration of the delights and challenges of the famous Via Alpina, and the experience of walking hut-to-hut.  Published in the April 11, 2016 issue of the New Yorker magazine, this is a delightful and serious essay on the Via Alpina, a trail that wends its way through […]

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Sean Byrne: Wicklow Way farmer, host, & advocate

The Byrne family has farmed in the Wicklow hills, along the Wicklow Way, for five generations. As a teen Sean helped out just down the road at a guest-house catering to hunters and fishermen on the beautiful Lough Dan. He also worked for his neighbors, the Guinness family, on their estate on the sublime Lough […]

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Outdoor Society argues for more huts in USA

Mathias Eichler, outdoors advocate and editor of the Outdoor Society blog, grew up in the foothills of the Alps.  He can’t understand why there are not more huts in USA, his beloved adopted land.  He is a great fan of our National Parks and advocate for recreational use of public land. {Featured image courtesy Mathias […]

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Julie Judkin’s Comparison of Trail Communities on AT and Pennine Way

Understanding Local Perceptions of Management and Values of Long Distance Trails: Summary of Masters Project, Duke University, 2015 By Julie Judkins,  Director of Education and Outreach, Appalachian Trail Conservancy Introduction Trails are built for connecting people to nature: an important first step of building conservation advocates. Long distance trails offer recreational opportunities, economic stimulus for […]

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Hut Map of the Americas

Hut-to-hut in the USA: situation and outlook

Hut to hut in the USA: situation and outlook by  Sam Demas and Wilson Josephson This is a preliminary overview of the 15 hut-to-hut systems in the USA.  There are a number of systems under development or expanding, and I’m hoping readers will tip me off to others that should be included.  Currently these 15 systems comprise 107 huts, yurts, and […]

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Brief History of the Rendezvous Huts, oldest in the West!

Brief History of the Rendezvous Huts, oldest in the West! By Sam Demas and Charles Hickenbottom This is a companion piece to  history of the Methow Valley Trails system, which operates hand in glove with Rendezvous Huts and other businesses and organizations in the area. Together they maintain and operate a remarkable Nordic skiing trail and […]

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How the Methow Valley became a lodging and trails hub

How the Methow Valley become a world-class lodging and trails hub By Sam Demas With fabulous ski terrain and a great climate, Winthrop, WA on the east slope of the North Cascades, became a mecca for winter sports enthusiasts in the 1970’s.   Attracted by the consistent snow cover, great climate, and stunning natural beauty, young people […]

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Leyton Jump, High Hut Manager. Photo coutesy Karly Siroky,

Mt. Tahoma — High Hut and MTTA Notes on History and Operations

High Hut Trail Guide Excerpts Notes kindly compiled by Leyton Jump, Manager of High Hut, Mt. Tahoma Trails Association OUR MISSION 2005 The Mt. Tahoma Trails Association operates and manages for public use a year-round hut-to-hut trail system adjacent to the slopes of Mt. Rainier, offering trail users of differing skill levels and economic backgrounds […]

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More hut-to-hut hiking in USA? Part 2: Challenges

by Sam Demas Creating more opportunities for people to use huts to support long distance hiking, biking, skiing is a complex undertaking.  If not done well, the potential for doing environmental harm is as great as the potential for doing educational and recreational good. Part 1 of this article outlined the potential benefits. Part 2 […]

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Logo Leading Trails

Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe

  By Lis Nielsen, President European Ramblers Association (ERA-EWV-FERP) Walking is a very popular and growing pastime worldwide. Europe is no exception! All over Europe more and more people tie their bootlaces and set out during their holidays and leisure time to discover a variety of natural beauties on foot. Indeed, Europe offers thousands of kilometers […]

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“A Hut in the Wild”: essays on huts from down under

Book notice of “Hut in the Wild” by Dianne Johnson, with a link to chapter one Hut as Inscape“. Dianne Johnson’s quirky, delightful, and inspiring book Hut in the Wild (www.loveofbooks.com.au, 2011) explores the hut as an archetype, “a cabin of the imagination, and inscape, it is redolent of a lost paradise regained, a gleaner’s bliss….and sometimes […]

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