Staff Post: Welcoming Kenzie to AK Huts

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My name is Kenzie and I am excited to be a part of Alaska Huts Staff as Operations Manager. My position manages day-to-day operations of AK Huts, including social media and upkeep of Manitoba, general fundraising and event planning. I joined AK Huts late this past summer, and love the Huts community!

I was born in Anchorage, spent my early years in Dutch Harbor, and most of my youth in Seward. My family, and the wild places I grew up frequenting, fostered a deep love of Alaska in me. I visited Manitoba as a kid, and spent some of my first days back-country skiing on Manitoba Mountain. I feel passionate about sharing Alaska and the special places it has to offer with others. My family has been involved with Alaska Huts for a long time; they passed on the appreciation for the organization and its mission to me.

I went to Macalester College in Minnesota, and have spent the years since then travelling and working seasonally - guiding out of Valdez, Seward, and New Zealand. I made the move back to Seward this year, where my heart is most content. I spend my time working on my family’s 40 foot trawler, mountain running, skiing (of any variety!) and keeping an eye on Manitoba - making sure all is running smoothly.  

What inspires me most about AK Huts is our mission to connect and include all sorts of different outdoor users to Huts. People involved in Alaska Huts range from retired folks to toddlers, from people who rarely camp to folks who are always in the back-country. Alaska Huts strives to create outdoor spaces that appeal to everyone. In turn, it creates a caring, diverse community that I am happy to be a part of!

Staff Post: Welcoming Nate to AK Huts

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My name is Nate and I am a proud new member of the Alaska Huts staff team this year!

A little about me: I grew up in Seattle and recently graduated from Yale with a degree in Environmental Studies. I am an avid runner and climber, and spent the past few summers as a mountain guide on Mount Rainier. I care deeply about making wilderness experiences more accessible and creating opportunities that connect people of all backgrounds to the outdoors—one of the many reasons I feel personally invested in the mission and core values of Alaska Huts.

I am excited to be supporting Alaska Huts as an “Outdoor Recreation Policy Fellow” with the Sitka Winter Fellows Program. This means I’ll be splitting my time between Anchorage and Sitka, where I am collaborating with AK State Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins on several projects aiming to boost Alaska’s adventure tourism economy. With Alaska Huts, I will be assisting day-to-day operations and helping plan the Glacier Discovery project. Based out of Sitka’s legislative office, I am also in a unique position to research policy and advocate for public funding of recreation infrastructure improvements—including, hopefully, the construction of more public-use cabins

In my short time with Alaska Huts so far I’ve already seen just how powerfully this organization brings people together. Last month I got to join some amazing volunteers and Huts supporters at Manitoba’s aptly named ‘Woodstock’ event. While stacking firewood and scrubbing yurts, I was struck by how multi-generational this crowd was: young children rinsing dishes while their parents swept the floors; teenagers hauling wood to hand off to women and men three times their age; everyone working together to make this place better. It’s a testament, I believe, to Alaska Huts’ commitment to inclusive community building and camaraderie.

Earlier in September I also had an opportunity to join Tom and Mackenzie on a scouting mission to pinpoint locations for the new Glacier Discovery Huts along the Alaska Railroad. Hiking under Bartlett Glacier, I was thoroughly blown away by spectacular views in all directions. The proposed hut system is not only in a wildly beautiful area, but also offers access to excellent backcountry skiing, ice climbing, rafting, and wildlife viewing. With the planning process already underway, I am looking forward to doing all I can to support Alaska Huts in making this a reality.

Onward!

-Nate Sievert

Quarterly Huts Update!

“Wow, Alaska Huts sounds great – how do I get involved?” That’s one of the most common questions I get from people who are just learning about the organization. I can rattle off a quick list in seconds—volunteer, come stay at Manitoba, check out our upcoming workshops —but we all know that following through takes a lot more time than that.

Luckily, this spring we have even more opportunities for you to get involved. First up, on May 20th we have our spring work weekend down at Manitoba Cabin. We will be doing a deep clean of the cabin—stacking firewood, getting everything ready for summer, and enjoying a campfire with friends. As our board member Laura described, this weekend is a great opportunity to get to know the Alaska Huts community while giving back.

We also have two workshops coming up in June! Jen Aist is back by popular demand with another round of Babes in the Woods  (June 3rd-4th). We are also delighted to host Amy Seifert’s Wild Medicinal Plants workshop (June 9th-11th). These are two great opportunities to spend a summer weekend down at Manitoba and learn some valuable skills and we hope you'll make it out!

In addition to workshops, this time of year gets us thinking about everyone who made the winter season so great! So, now as we come out hibernation we want to thank and celebrate all of you who took that step and got involved in our Alaska Huts community this past winter. Manitoba Cabin had its busiest winter ever, with more than 1,700 people spending the night. Whether it was your first trip down or your tenth, we are excited that our cabin in the woods got to be a part of your winter!

Lastly, we wanted to update you about our recent fundraiser, A Flannel Affair! We had a great event at the Tap Root featuring music from Blackwater Railroad Company. Thank you to everyone who came out to support our mission, and to all of the businesses who donated to the silent auction – with all of your support we raised over $7,000 that will go towards providing more recreation opportunities across Southcentral Alaska!

So for those of you have and will be involved with Huts, we look forward to the fun ahead and can't wait to see you out there! 

Best, 

Tom Callahan 

Executive Director

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Laura's Story

Laura's Story

In 2013, I went through what I like to call my “quarter-life crisis.”

Fresh out of college, I was working a comfortable job in new city. I was sure I had it all figured out.  Three years later, I finally realized that working 60-hour weeks in a place far away from any kind of real mountains was no life for me. I decided something seriously needed to change.

 

We Did a Number on 2016!

We Did a Number on 2016!

The days are slowly but surely getting longer, snow is still falling, and spring skiing seems closer than ever. All of us here at Alaska Huts are excited for what’s to come, but we wanted to take a quick look back at what happened in 2016. Thanks to the incredible support from all of our members, volunteers, cabin users and supporters we have some fantastic accomplishments to look back on. To put things in perspective, here’s some numbers from the past year...