Who Are We?
Official name: Alaska Mountain and Wilderness Huts Association, Inc.
The organization is working on Alaska's spectacular Kenai Peninsula, with hut sites in the Kenai Mountains. Our in-town base is Anchorage (mailing address is on the Contacting Us page). We have renovated Manitoba Cabin, and it opened at the very end of 2012. It is located near the high point of the Seward Highway where it passes through the Kenai Mountains, with a trailhead at Milepost 48. Our planned hut-to-hut system is a few years off, but we have a planning permit with Chugach National Forest to place it along the Glacier Discovery Trail that the Forest Service is steadily extending in the area between Spencer Glacier and Trail Glacier. Our intention has been that the hut system be built within a reasonable drive of the state's major population centers (Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Valley) in a scenic mountain environment. The current locations fit the bill.
The organization began to form in February 1998 and officially incorporated August 29, 1998. Selecting a site, raising funds, acquiring necessary permits, and building the first hut has taken some time. Manitoba Cabin opened Thanksgiving Day 2012. We are actively working with Chugach National Forest and the State of Alaska (Department of Natural Resources) to open our proposed hut-to-hut system.
Huts mean fun in the backcountry—a new way for people to get outdoors and active, a way to accommodate an education group, a way to model healthy lifestyles. Getting outdoors individually or with a group raises the level of stewardship for wild lands and public lands in general. See our mission statement on the home page. We also strive to show, in a small way, how tourism, recreation, and education can combine for sustainable economic development in a state where resource extraction and boom and bust economies have ruled. In short, we're motivated to establish a new healthy, recreation and education option not available anywhere in Alaska.
We are a mostly volunteer organization. We built Manitoba Cabin with grant funds and a combination of professional and volunteer labor, and we foresee a similar model as we move forward in partnership with land managing agencies. Contact us if you believe a hut to hut system would be great in Alaska, and let us know if you have time, funds, materials, or ideas to offer!