h2h is a work in progress, but we’ve finally launched! The website is a call to community, information exchange, research, debate, and discussion. It will be successful to the extent readers join the conversation!
With 21 posts, articles and news items, this first “issue” of HutMag provides a sense of what we are about. We’ll continue to publish new content monthly for the next few years and see where it leads. Our other primary section is Operational Profiles.
As the number of huts, yurts, cabins and shelters worldwide continues to grow, and as interest in huts by walkers, skiers, and bikers increases, h2h wonders:
- where this movement came from and where it is headed?
- if and how it serves environmental protection and education?
- what are the practicalities and economics of operating hut systems?
- how to foster cooperation in stimulating support of the existing hut systems?
- how to connect the dots in understanding this diffuse impulse towards building more shelters for short and long distance, human-powered travel?, and
- how the USA in particular might develop a network of hut systems that reflects the best of America’s outdoor recreation and environmental values, and also aligns with the nation’s social, economic and geographic realities?
Except for the nascent Colorado Hut and Yurt Alliance, there are no organizations, interest groups, or easily identifiable communities around huts in the USA that are fostering information exchange, research, debate, and discussion on these questions. But there are many small, informal communities. The hut-masters of New England tend to know each other; same with the hut owners in Colorado and the Western states. However, it is surprising how little they tend to know about each others operations: even within a state or region, much less nationally or internationally.
We have much to learn from each other. In particular, we in the USA have much to learn from our hut colleagues in Europe and New Zealand! We hope they will inform and participate in a conversation about huts.
h2h hopes to help by providing frameworks and stimulus for hut folks to talk to each other.
As a first step in this direction, h2h is thrilled to launch a series of Operational Profiles. These first installments cover two of the USA’s premier hut systems: the Appalachian Mountain Club and the 10th Mountain Division Huts. We also have a profile of day-to-day operations in a single Norwegian DNT hut by Mackenzie Murphy, a Dartmouth College student who worked there for a summer. With accompanying photo galleries, these profiles are at the heart of what we are trying to do: share practical information about how hut systems operate and the challenges and opportunities they face. Look for more operational profiles over the coming months. And consider writing one about your hut system; I’ll be glad to partner with you! If you work in a hut or a hut system, you are probably one of the world’s leading experts on it, and your observations are likely useful! Another h2h goal is to share information about hut operations and planning.
The sense of “hut community” is remarkably different in Europe, where each national Alpine Club is deeply involved in huts [aside: for some reason the American Alpine Club appears indifferent to huts, though I could be wrong], where local chapters are deeply involved in maintaining huts and trails, and where there is a robust international professional exchange among hut masters. Marco Volken and Remo Kundert give us a glimpse into this world with their amazing book and informative essay on the huts of the SAC.
HutMag articles like my What is a hut? and Why Walk? by Robert Manning are examples of the kind of essays we will publish examining basic questions around huts and traveling among them by foot, ski, or bike. Consider writing for us! It is the quality of the ideas that matters; you don’t have to be a practiced writer to make intelligent contributions! We promote accessible, informal writing by and for average folks. Publishing the thoughts and experience of folks on the front lines of the hut world is a goal of h2h.
Profiles of the people involved in founding and operating hut systems are central to the story of huts. We begin with Founder Profiles of Joe Dodge (AMC), Fritz Benedict (10MD), and Larry Warren (MH&T), giants in the American hut scene. Help is needed in writing short profiles that capture the personalities, perspectives, and contributions of the folks who operate hut systems day-to-day folks: cooks, trail crews, hut masters, office staff, owners, executive directors, and board members. We want to showcase the folks who make it happen and determine the quality of the experience!
Also included are three book reviews, a list of organizations that may have overlapping interests with hut folks, a featured “hut of the month” (AMC’s Carter Notch Hut), which is celebrating its Centennial, and a piece on Art on the New England Trail.
Hut Maps and Lists reports on initiatives worldwide to identify huts and hut systems. We are experimenting by developing “Hut Systems Map of North and South America“. We have started on the USA and with your help we will gradually fill in the USA blanks and start on the rest of the Americas.
Posts on news and current events will keep folks up to date on happenings related to huts and trails. See the HutNews Links on the home page. And send us links, reports, and/or suggestions on news items of interest to the community.
Finally, you will notice that the “comments” function at the end of each post and article is turned off. Our observation is that these random comments are often not well thought out and can discourage civil and thoughtful discussion of topics. Instead, we are providing you a suite of ways in which you can share your knowledge and views. Please:
- write for us (brief posts, articles, news items, profiles, etc.); check out our scope statement and editorial guidelines;
- send us trip reports on hut systems you have visited;
- suggest map markers for inclusion on HutMap;
- suggest resources for us to list, such as links to interesting websites, blogs, books, organizations, etc.
- contribute photos to share interesting images of the phenomena of huts and trails; or
- call or email with your questions, suggestions, or ideas.
Looking forward to learning with and from you,
Sam Demas, Editor, h2h
Adam Rutkowski, Research Assistant and Web Master