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Alaska Huts Welcomes New Executive Director

Amy at workshop


Alaska Huts Association is excited to announce that Amy Dalton has been named the new Executive Director. Amy has served as the Interim Executive Director and brings a rich and varied background to the organization. Amy’s history with Alaska Huts goes all the way back to 2001, when she served as a board member. In 2014, Amy returned to the organization as an Outreach Coordinator, forging partnerships with other non-profits and educational groups to provide opportunities aligned with the Huts mission. Amy spearheaded a number of exciting and successful projects. By far, the most rewarding work for her was connecting groups to Manitoba Cabin and Yurts for an outdoor experience.

Amy at workshop

Amy, far left, the new AK Huts Executive Director, at a work event at Manitoba.

“I’ll never forget meeting a group of students who were part of Alaska Geographic’s Youth Mentorship & Leadership Development program at Manitoba on a frigid, January afternoon to be sure all was well. For all, this was a first: melting snow for water, starting a fire, operating a propane heater. Watching these kids spring into action, working, laughing, jumping around together while warming the cabin and brewing up hot drinks was awe-inspiring. This is why I believe in Huts.”

Amy hiking

As a former Coloradan and avid world traveler, Amy has experienced a wide range of hut-to-hut adventures. Amy looks to draw on her hut experiences as she advances the core mission of Alaska Huts.

“Alaska is ripe for a network of huts in the tradition of those like the Colorado 10th Mountain Division Huts or those in the Italian Dolomites. Whether Alaskans seeking a comfortable base for skiing the backcountry or out of state and international travelers wanting to connect with Alaska’s wilds, there is an indisputable demand for huts of this kind. The partnerships we’re building with agencies, organizations and businesses, coupled with ongoing support from our donors are paving the way to realizing our dream of building the first of three huts at Spencer Glacier,” says Dalton.

In addition to bringing in a new Executive Director, Alaska Huts has restructured its staffing to help advance its goals of managing Manitoba Hut while also advancing the proposed Glacier Discovery Hut System. The Alaska Huts team includes MacKenzie Barnwell, Amalie Couvillion and Charlie Sassara.

Mackenzie on boat

MacKenzie, now into her second year with Huts, is the Operations Manager for Manitoba Huts and Communications Director. MacKenzie hails from Seward and spends her free time boating, mountain running and skiing. A five year veteran in the outdoor recreation industry, Barnwell also owns and operates Alpenglow Charters. As Operations Manager, MacKenzie is our point-person for all things Manitoba. MacKenzie also provides an indispensable role for Alaska Huts as our Development Director.


AmalieAmalie Couvillion joined huts this spring as a fundraising consultant. She brings valuable experience to Huts after a 17-year career at The Nature Conservancy where she moved through several roles, starting as a scientist and (happily) ending up as a fund development professional focused on major giving. Amalie believes her professional evolution points to her conviction that connecting people to mission is one of the most rewarding roles in a nonprofit.


Charlie SkiingThe newest member of the team, Charlie Sassara, is a lifelong Alaskan, climber, sailor and successful business innovator specializing in government contracting and remote site construction. Past board member, officer and President of the American Alpine Club, Sassara was integral in the development of the American Alpine Club’s network of huts and campground facilities in Alaska, New Hampshire, New York, Texas and West Virginia. As the Glacier Discovery Project Manager, Charlie will direct our efforts towards creating the Glacier Discovery Hut System.


“Alaska Huts’ future is bright,” says Kevin Banks, Board Chair. “We are enthusiastic and confident that with this new leadership team, Alaska Huts is well poised to sustain and advance the Huts vision in South Central Alaska.”

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