Category Archives: News

Update on Spearhead Huts Construction

Spearhead Huts Construction Begins!

by Sam Demas based on information from Spearhead Huts website

The Alpine Club of Canada and the British Columbia Mountaineering Club have broken groundAlpine Club of Canada - Claire and Kees  on the Kees and Claire hut, the first of three huts in three huts planned for the Spearhead Traverse.  Named after a young couple who perished in a collapsed snow cave they built for shelter while on the Wapti Traverse in 2006.                                                                 

The Spearhead Huts August 25, 2017 blog update provides some great photos of the intense volunteer effort undertake  to put in the foundation for the hut.  For an broad overview of the plan for the Spearhead Traverse, see the FAQ and other portions of their web page.

When completed this three hut traverse will offer safer access to the remarkable ski terrain that claimed the young lives of Kees and Claire.

Spearhead Huts Construction

Foundation of Claire Kees Hut emerges August 2017.  Photo Courtesy Spearhead Traverse Huts

Spearhead Huts Construction

Working fast on concrete pour between helicopter deliveries of concrete. Photo courtesy Spearhead Huts.

Alaska Huts

Alaska huts and trails and economic development

“Could the lure of trails salvage Alaska’s economy?”

article by Krista Langlois in High Country News (June 26,2017):

Summary  below with link to full article

 

This article is highly recommended to anyone interested in huts and trails and their potential for economic development.  Following is a brief summary:

The subtitle of this piece summarizes Langlois’ arena of exploration: A trial along the Trans-Alaska pipeline could be the start of a booming recreation economy. Krista interviews people on all sides of this question, but is clearly interested in the potential of Alaska’s greatest asset — its sublime landscape and huge tracts of magnificent wilderness — as a desperately needed driver of economic development.  

The economy of Alaska is on the ropes: timber jobs have decreased by 80%, oils production has dropped by 76% since 1989, the state is doing everything it can to prop up fishing and mining, but is now facing a $4 billion budget deficit.  Governor Bill Walker said in 2016 “We have reached a point in our state’s history that we need to be looking beyond oil.”  

The specific proposal Langlois explores is the development of an 800 mile trail that parallels the Trans-Pacific pipeline.  She outlines the arguments pro and con, provides interesting character sketches some of the advocates and opponents of the trail, and provides valuable context in comparing the state of trail development in Alaska compared with that in the lower 48 states.  The bottom line is that while Alaska has unsurpassed wilderness beauty, it has relatively little infrastructure to attract outdoor enthusiasts.

She hones in on the fact that the rugged wilderness of Alaska is beyond the capabilities of most people, and that the development of hut systems is one way of making these wonders accessible to the vast majority of “people in the middle” who appreciate and long for contact with wild but are simply  not up to the job of backpacking in Alaska.  She interviews Tom Callahan of Alaska Huts Association, and cites relevant economic development studies and initiatives including the New Zealand hut system and Great Walks, the AMC Hut System, and Adventure Cycling, and Fruita Colorado to name a few.  

But don’t settle for my summary: its well worth reading the entire article.

Vermont Huts Association Logo

Vermont Huts Association News

The Vermont Huts Association is preparing to build its first hut as part of an emerging state-wide network linking existing huts.  They report that they are exploring viable sites in Green Mountain National Forest to host a year-round facility capable of serving various outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, mountain bikers, backcountry skiers, and snowshoers.

They also note that the IRS just granted them their official status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

 

New Exec. Director for Maine Huts and Trails

News from Maine Huts and Trails web site:

Please welcome Carolann Ouellette as Executive Director of Maine Huts & Trails! After a long and thorough search process, we found an exceptional leader. Currently serving as Director of the Maine Office of Tourism, she began her career right here in Carrabassett Valley, managing the Sugarloaf Inn, and also managed operations at New England Outdoor Center. A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Carolann is uniquely well-qualified for this position. In 2015 she was named by Maine Magazine as one of “50 Mainers Boldly Leading Our State”, and she’s even a Registered Maine Guide. The future of Maine Huts & Trails is in good hands.

Backcountry Hut Company: Architectural Design & Business Model

Backcountry Hut Company: Architectural Design & Business Model

by Sam Demas, October 12, 2016; All photos courtesy Backcountry Hut Company

The Canadian company Backcountry Hut Company (BHC) has completed its design and has constructed a prototype for a pre-fabricated, modular hut system. The design is optimized for alpine and other outdoor clubs, lodge operators, and also private outdoor recreation enthusiasts.  Based on a conversation with BHC’s Wilson Edgar, this post is a brief description of the design concept, business model, and rollout plans.

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“Vermont Huts Association” Launched!

Vermont Huts Association Launched!

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.”

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Adirondack Hamlets to Huts: a founders’ profile

Adirondack Hamlets to Huts

Duane Gould, Joe Dadey, and Jack Drury – The Adirondacks Hamlets to Huts Team

Joe and Jack: pioneers in a culture awakening to the environmental benefits of huts

In 2013 Joe Dadey and Jack Drury came up with the idea of a lodging and trails system connecting Adirondack hamlets to huts.  I’ve been following their quest as something of a model planning process for hut systems.

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Adirondack Hamlets to Huts: coming soon….

Adirondack Hamlets to Huts: a new hut system

By Sam Demas, August 2016

A new hut system, Adirondack Hamlets to Huts, appears to be coming together quickly.  In 2015 the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) contacted Joe Dadey and Jack Drury to request that they propose and help to “fast-track” the implementation of a hut system in the Adirondack Park.   In response to the DEC’s invitation, they produced a “Conceptual Plan for a Hut-to-Hut Destination-based Trail System” analyzing and ranking 26 potential routes.  I  reported on this plan last month.

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Plan for Adirondack Hut-to-Hut System

This report is required reading for those interested in what it takes to site and develop a new hut-to-hut system in cooperation with state officials and trail communities.

After months of research and community consultations, Leading E.D.G.E. LLC has released its “Conceptual Plan for a Hut-to-Hut Destination-based Trail System for the Five Towns of Long Lake, Newcomb, Indian Lake, Minerva, and North Hudson”.  The plan proposes 26 possible routes for consideration by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  It thoroughly explores options for developing a trails and lodging system in the Five Towns region within the Adirondack Park (the largest park east of the Mississippi River).  It is based on the work of the Adirondacks Community Based Trails and Lodging System.

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Sharing the Path of Abraham

Sharing the Path of Abraham 

Can retracing the path of one of the world’s most revered prophets help sow the seeds of peace and economic prosperity for communities in the Middle East? This is the question that Harvard professor William Ury sought to answer when, in 2004, he established the Abraham Path Initiative. Abraham was the exemplar of hospitality and preached kindness to strangers. The story of Abraham, or Ibrahim, is one of the most well known and revered by followers of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Indeed, it is through Abraham that these followers trace their ancestry and from the stories of his travels through the Middle East that many continue to find inspiration today. For Ury, these stories provided a particular kind of inspiration that saw the potential for finding common ground, and common ancestry, in the face of conflicts that have sought to tear the region apart. Thus was born the Abraham Path.

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