by Sam Demas, October 10, 2016
Vermont is now the second state in the USA to establish an association of hut owners. The mission of the Vermont Huts Association is:
“To enhance the backcountry experience in Vermont by connecting the year-round recreation community with the evolving network of hut, cabin, yurt and lodge operators.”
Launched in August 2016 by RJ Thompson and Devin Littlefield, they are in the initial stages of building community support for what they hope will be a state-wide network of huts. Their initial emphasis appears to be in connecting existing accommodations infrastructure. Their approach is to treat huts as a form of environmental protection, allowing more use of the backcountry while minimizing environmental impact.
They rightly perceive a great opportunity in the Green Mountain State. Historically, there was a fairly extensive Inn-to-Inn network on the Long Trail in the early 20th century, and some echoes of which persist today. The Green Mountain Club (GMC) operates 65 backcountry style shelters (see my photo gallery) along the 270 mile Long Trail (see my 2015 operational profile on the Long Trail Shelter System). RJ and Devin are working with the GMC, Catamount Trail, Vermont Backcountry Alliance, and other groups.
Their business and organizational model is under development. Perhaps it will end up operating like the Colorado Alliance of Huts and Yurts. I’ll post more detail about their organization, aims, aspirations, and activities later. Meanwhile, check out their website and an informative article in Backcountry Magazine.
All good wishes to this new venture!