Research and Development

To help inform a conversation about the future of huts in the USA, we would like to work with individuals and organizations on the topics below.  We are open to collaborations, including joint funding proposals for research and writing, commissioning studies, publishing reports, organizing programs, and other avenues to advance thoughtful action on:

  1.  Development of criteria for siting huts and shelters.  Study of existing guidelines, and infrastructure, and extrapolation of an updated set of best practices.
  2. Studying the operations, costs and benefits of a wide range of shelter systems for long distance travelers, including but not limited to traditional huts and shelters, home-stays, farm-stays, Inn to Inn, and tent to tent, and hybrid systems.  Research to determine what forms are most suited to different regional climates, topographies, economies, and cultural realities.
  3. Documenting what is known about the impact of huts on the environment, best practices in concentrating backcountry use, and mitigating “recreational trampling” and other deleterious impacts.
  4. Holding a national symposium on “best practices in operating hut systems” to harvest the experience and views of hut system owners/managers.
  5. Identifying key foreign language literature on hut systems and arranging for translation into English and distribution in USA.
  6. Conducting a study tour of European and New Zealand hut systems to study best practices and current designs, lessons learned, and issues, and to discuss future strategies and scenarios for management and development of hut systems.
  7. Holding a national symposium on the future of hut systems in USA.
  8. Studying and reporting on trends and lessons learned in the design and construction of huts internationally.
  9. Developing a nuanced understanding of the perspectives on huts and shelters of the land management community, i.e. officials in National Park Service, National Forest Service, State Parks and Natural Resources Agencies, Land Trusts, and other land stewardship organizations.
  10. Scenario development in the relationship between the movement towards “nearby nature” (development of trails and educational program near urban areas) and the potential for hut systems in aiding environmental education efforts.
  11. In-depth analysis and reporting on key operational considerations, including:
    • The current state of the regulatory environment and recommendations for changes.
    • The economics of hut system management and development, for both non-profit and for-profit systems.  Economic viability of hut and shelter systems. Economic impact of hut and shelter systems.
    • Trends in use of hut and trails systems and recommendations on data gathering to improve our understanding.