One Year Update – Maine Huts & Trails
April 15, 2011
Questions & Answer: Dave Herring – Executive Director
Have additional huts been built/added to the trail system in the past year? Are you closer to reaching your 12-hut goal?
Yes. We opened Grand Falls Hut in October 2010. It is located approximately 11 miles north of Flagstaff Lake Hut below the spectacular Grand Falls above the banks of the Dead River. We are currently creating a five year plan and will likely look to add two more huts during that period. The entire 12-hut, 180-mi vision is likely more of a 10-15 yr plan.
What energy efficient elements have you added or are hoping to add to the new huts? I know solar panels and compost toilets were a main feature.
We added 50% more panels to the Flagstaff Lake Hut solar array and are planning to install solar hot water preheat systems to each of the huts over the next few years. The Grand Falls Hut is about 30% smaller than Flagstaff and Poplar Huts.
What has been the feedback from the local community to your hut-to-hut trail system?
The response has been very positive. Local guides are now leading trips on our system, local businesses (inns, restaurants, shops) are benefiting and we’re sourcing more and more food and products from local farms and providers each season. Learn more about our “local approach” here.
Have you seen an increase in tourism to the state, specifically western Maine due to the promotion of the hut-to-hut trail system? Are you finding more people using the trails for summer or winter recreation or both?
Yes – our winter business has grown faster than our summer/fall business. We will see more than 2000 visitors this year – many of them coming to western Maine for the first time to see all that we have to offer! I think our real impact on tourism in the region will come when we can bring more visitors here in the summer and fall. There are so many activities to take part in during that time of year: paddling, fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking, birding, etc.