by Erin Kirkland, Alaska Huts Association Executive Director
I first visited Manitoba Cabin in 2014 on a warm, early-spring weeknight. My family and I consider ourselves fairly seasoned campers, so we gathered our gear, a small sled, and trekked 15 minutes from Milepost 48 to the cabin. So far, so good.
What struck all of us immediately was this "sweet spot" of casual camping combined with a sense of security just 3/4 of a mile from the Seward Highway. Here we were, close enough to run back to the car if we needed to, but a virtual world away from technology, a busy lifestyle, and all that goes with the frenetic pace of 21st-century life.
What if, we asked ourselves, more people knew about this place, especially those who don't camp or hike regularly? What if schools, youth groups, workplace retreats, and other non-profit organizations introduced their students, employees, or clients to the joy of getting outdoors within easy reach of home?
Fast forward to 2018: Alaska Huts Association is doing these things, with more plans on the horizon. Why? It's all in our core values: Community, Stewardship, and Opportunity.
COMMUNITY in that places like Manitoba - and within a few short years, our Glacier Discovery project sites - help perpetuate strong, inclusive, outdoor-themed spaces that attract diverse groups of visitors from all over the world.
STEWARDSHIP through caring for our on-site resources like plants, water, and wildlife. Alaska Huts members and visitors are encouraged to take an active role in creating a sustainable presence in the natural spaces we inhabit, and it shows when we do. Volunteerism also plays a part; our two work events; Wood Stock and Spring Work Weekend bring groups of people together to help mitigate some of the chores that always seem to pile up, and we in the office appreciate the efforts (plus, it's a ton of fun).
OPPORTUNITY is coming to Alaska Huts, in so many ways! From offering non-profit organization discounts to providing classes in art, science, or nature that pique interest and build skills, we're committed to our guests. Transformational experiences are what we're after, be they simple or complex, and if you have an idea or a skill to teach, we want to hear about it.
Our annual fundraiser, A Flannel Affair, is happening Thursday April 12 at 6:30 p.m. This is your chance to learn more about Alaska Huts Association, talk with our board members, and support the organization's mission to promote huts in our state's wild, wonderful outdoor spaces.