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.

Sutherlands Hut, built 1860's - a former boundary keepers hut
Ivory Lake Hut, a science hut constructed to support a team of glaciologists and hydrologists studying this retreating glacier.
Blue Range Hut built by Masterton Tramping Club in 1958
Associated with the 1966-67 Freedom Walks on Milford Track
Frew Saddle Bivouac, two bunk bivvy built for NZ Forest Service deer cullers
Roaring Stag Lodge II, originally built by a club, NZ Deerstalkers Association, over a period of four years.  Rebuilt by DOC in 2005.
Tarn Ridge Hut, 16 bunk replacement high mountain built by DOC
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.
Dolent Hut, Swiss Alpine Club. Photo courtesy Marcon Volken.
Waipakihi Hut, Lockwood style architecture, NZ Forest Service
Broome Hut In Summer - D Maddox photo
Sign of the Packhorse Hut, government built (1916) tourism and climbing hut, originally built as one of four backcountry teahouses.
Sutherlands Hut, interior
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Scope statement for

While based in USA and publishing in English, we aspire to an international perspective.

We are interested in what we can learn from other nations, and

keen to explore the past, present and future of shelter systems for long distance-human powered travel in USA.

Perspective: Sam wears multiple hats in writing about huts, operating variously as: 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, and 3.) an advocate for more huts in USA and for using them to engender biophilia/environmental ethics in the next generations.

  1. News – Relevant legislation & regulations related to huts, walking, skiing and biking; new huts and systems; relevant people, places and ideas in the news.
  1. Hut systems and how they operate
    1. Mapping of hut systems in the Americas; tracking trends, and the situation and outlook for shelter systems.
    2. Operational profiles by and for those who operate hut systems to compare policies and practices – see examples
    3. Economics, demographics, and sustainability;
    4. What USA can learn from operations in other nations?  Have begun work on the first in what might become a series of “Country Studies”.  The first is an overview of how long distance walking is supported in Ireland.
    5. Specific issues: see operational profile template for a list of topics.
  1. Emerging, evolving, traditional or alternative shelter systems supporting “living outdoors” for recreation and educational purposes
    1. Home-stays, “”-like services, hostels, tent-t0-tent, cave-to-cave, Huttopia-like businesses, etc.
    2. Ideas and models that could inspire or inform new approaches to hut and shelter systems.
    3. Family camps, service trips, and other affordable forms of making it easier for families and young people to stay outdoors for long periods.
  1. Profiles of interesting people – Hut founders & managers, hut masters & staff, architects & builders, etc.
  1. Design, architecture and construction
    1. Architecture and design of specific huts and systems. Including construction techniques, sustainability solutions, etc.
    2. Design guidelines, program statements, etc.
    3. Trail design, configuration, and construction.
    4. Bringing huts and trails to people, i.e. in closer proximity to urban areas.
  1. Educational role of huts
    1. Existing programs: Natural history and sustain ability, working with special populations (PTSD, handicapped, schools, etc.)
    2. Potential role in environmental education and cultivation of biophilia.
  1. Environmental protection and mitigation of impacts of huts, walking, skiing, and biking
    1. Striking the balance between lowering barriers of access and protecting the environment.
    2. Data on impacts and methods of mitigation;
    3. Environmental ethics related to hut design, construction & operation;
  1. Literary, artistic & spiritual dimensions
    1. Ruminations and reflections on the history and meaning of huts, the experience of hut to hut travel, and related phenomena.
    2. Art, music, and other forms of creative expression in huts, on trials, and concerning the landscape and the world of huts and human powered travel.
  1. Should there be more hut to hut systems in USA?  The number of huts, yurts and cabins in USA is growing.  Is this a good thing; pros and cons?  If so, how, when, where, and why?  Discussion of cultural, historical, geographic, political, and other factors in US compared with other nations.
  1. Imaginative re-thinking of huts – Some hut systems in the USA are modeled on the European system, but as a nation we seem to be on the verge of inventing our own version of shelter systems for walkers, bikers, and skiers. is interested in exploring alternative venues, audiences, partnerships, etc. for huts systems.   For example, huts don’t have to be only in the mountains or in wilderness areas (formally designated or otherwise); “nearby nature” and urban and suburban trail systems have promise.  Huts as economic development enterprises in USA and around the world.
  1. Exploring future models and building cooperation – What scenarios might we consider for development of huts and trails in USA?  What are some of the preferred scenarios?  What policy, advocacy, and professional practices organizations exist in the world of huts and trails, in USA and beyond?  How do these compare with those of other domains, both commercial and environmental?  What sorts of huts and trails coalitions and partnerships might evolve over time?
  1. Trip reports –  The site is not designed primarily to help people find interesting hut walks; but Hutmap and Trip Reports will serve this purpose to some degree.
  1. Essays on long distance walking, skiing, and biking – Ruminations on the joys, beauties, benefits, dangers, and challenges in human-powered movement through the landscape.