Huts for Vets
by Sam Demas, August 2016
“Huts for Vets and my fellow warriors saved my life over the last four days. Finding healing could not have happened in a better place.”
–From the logbook at Margy’s Hut, Tenth Mountain Division Hut System
This quote by a Marine veteran captures the essence of the Huts for Vets (HFV) program. Operating in partnership with the Tenth Mountain Division Hut System, Huts for Vets is one of many outdoor-based programs treating veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
More hut-to-hut hiking in USA?
Part 1: Benefits
By Sam Demas, hut2hut.info
Lets have a national conversation about huts
Americans love to hike their 167,00 miles of trails located on federal and state lands. We are building new trails to meet demand, and trail use is projected to continue increasing. But how do Americans feel about placing hut systems on some fraction of their trails? How do we feel as a nation about hut-to-hut hiking, skiing and biking? No one knows. It’s worth talking about.
By David Hooke, Vershire, Vermont
[Editors note: To me, this story demonstrates how an excited group of young people can inspire others to join them in establishing an extensive trail and cabin system. The Dartmouth Outdoor Club (DOC) was an expression of the amazing conservation movement in the USA in the early 20th century. This outbreak of environmental fervor — led by John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot and many others — inspired the development of the National Parks System of the U.S. and fostered greater environmental activism and consciousness in the U.S. population. This conservation movement also inspired a large-scale collegiate Outing Club movement that started at Dartmouth. In one generation the DOC developed a system of over 35 huts on trails leading from the Connecticut River in Hanover, N.H. into the heart of the White Mountains. I am grateful to David Hooke, author of Reaching That Peak: 75 Years of the Dartmouth Outing Club (1987), for kindly agreeing to write a brief summary of the origins and development of this collegiate cabin and trail system. — Sam Demas]
Dartmouth College, in Hanover New Hampshire, was a successful but quiet and remote outpost of North American higher education by the first decade of the 1900s. All-male from its founding in 1769, the college of 1909 was a lonely, even unhealthy place. Fall and spring dances were the only times that women were invited on campus; as result, winter was dismal, characterized buy “stuffy rooms, hot stoves, card games and general sluggishness resulting from lack of exercise.” Students and faculty alike were bored and looking for new possibilities.
by Charles Tracy, National Park Service.
In my work on community-based, regional and long-distance trails for the National Park Service, I have found that working with artists is an effective way to draw new visitors and to deepen the experience of current trail users. Connecting with new audiences to national parks and national trails through art is also recognized by the National Park Service as the “Arts Afire” national strategy in our recent “Call to Action”–plan for the NPS Centennial in 2016. The “Arts Afire” strategy is to “showcase the meaning of parks and trails to new audiences through dance, music, visual arts, writing, and social media.