PDA

View Full Version : AMC is proposing a new hut for New Hapshampshire's White Mountains



DavidNH
01-19-2016, 09:26
The new hut would be in Crawford Notch State park, not far from Zealand hut and have the advantage of being an easy destination for families, especially those with young children.

But I have reasons not to be happy about this. The white's are already to crowded and this would add to that. Do we really need another 130$ per night destination? NPR did a story on this, this morning and said staying at the hut (dinner and breakfast included) would cost a family of four 500 dollars. NH Fish and Game is on the list of those unhappy with the proposal due to potential ecological impacts.


What are your thoughts? Time to spout off!!!


DavidNH

colorado_rob
01-19-2016, 09:37
One of my favorite huts, my wife and I stayed at four of them along the NH AT, was the Zealand hut.... perhaps this will take some pressure off crowding at that hut? But I agree, more facilities = more and more people. Oh well. As much as we enjoyed the AT in NH, we wouldn't have even considered hiking through there in the height of summer. We were in Zealand a few days after labor day, 10 total guests the night we stayed at Zealand. 5 total at Lonesome lake. LOTC was packed though, as was Mitzpah.

It is eye-opening how much $$$ folks are spending these days for family vacations. A tribute to our thriving economy? Seems so.

egilbe
01-19-2016, 09:58
More of an example of income stratification of a very wealthy few.

tdoczi
01-19-2016, 09:59
so i guess every 2 or 3 months another person will discover this "news" and start a brand new thread so we can have the same discussion one more time? i think this is the 3rd or 4th such thread.

colorado_rob
01-19-2016, 11:03
More of an example of income stratification of a very wealthy few.Well, perhaps, but it sure seems there are a LOT of these "wealthy few" these days. And unemployment has dropped to below 5%. I digress... our resident Thread Policeman is becoming unsettled....

Lone Wolf
01-19-2016, 11:28
can't see it from my house. build it

Coffee
01-19-2016, 12:33
$130/night?!?! And I thought Switzerland was expensive!

Sarcasm the elf
01-19-2016, 12:44
I have no horse in this race, but I would normally lend my support to the educated judgements of conservation experts and the locals.

rickb
01-19-2016, 12:45
can't see it from my house. build it

Can't see it from the AT, either.

Rather than debate the fee structure at this and other huts, I would simply suggest that more frugle and or poor hikers celebrate the high charges.

Why?

Because they help subsidize the actual cost of caretaker sites (like Ethan Pond) by about 50%.

Bet you never thought about it that way.

It might also be worth reflecting on the broad range of AMC contributions to not only maintainimg the trails in the Whites, but protecting thousands of acres adjacent to the HMW in Maine (some rich people wrote a few very large checks), establishing a framework for free chapter activities, and introducing many underserved communities by way of thier youth opportunity program.

And that is only scratching the surface.

This is new facility will be good thing. It is on state land, and will be easy to avoid if you stick to the White Blazes.

4eyedbuzzard
01-19-2016, 13:13
I don't see the building of another hut as attracting any more people, aka crowds, than already exist. The Whites are crowded in the summer, and nothing is going to change that. Even if the proposed lodging capacity of 50 people is added everyday, 50 more people in Crawford Notch on any given day in the summer isn't much of a bump on the population radar. As to prices, nothing is cheap anywhere anymore. And having money simply has it's rewards - there's nothing new under the sun here. No one is going to force anyone to use this hut - there is plenty of camping available in the area. It would likely take some of the load off of the Zealand Falls and Mizpah Spring huts during peak season by splitting the 14 mile gap between those two. NH State parks is pretty much on board with AMC on this project. NHF&G environmental impact concerns warrant consideration. But so does the concept of opening up this area to those who due to physical limitations and disabilities cannot access most of the trails and other AMC huts. Another hut will obviously have an impact both during and after construction. But long-term, I don't see it as the huge impact problem many are making it out to be.

http://www.outdoors.org/about/newsroom/press/2015/new-hut-proposal.cfm

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/10/02/plan-for-white-mountains-hut-draws-fire/FPnQXB3tY7cNDPTrTPGLOM/story.html

But I agree with colorado_rob regarding timing - the best time to hike the Whites is after Labor Day and before Columbus Day/mid October anyway. Summer weekends are the worst. But I don't see another hut necessarily changing this aspect.

hikeandbike5
01-19-2016, 13:26
what is a Hapshampshire

DavidNH
01-19-2016, 13:40
it is Hampshire poorly typed by an absent sleepy mind.

swisscross
01-19-2016, 14:25
Who in the world would pay 130 dollars to stay in a hut?

Coffee
01-19-2016, 14:41
Who in the world would pay 130 dollars to stay in a hut?

Not sure about $130 but it was common to pay $60-80 per person in Switzerland last September which included dinner and a light breakfast. Those were dormitory style lodging but for the most part higher end than what you would expect at a typical hostel on the AT. Still I thought it was pretty steep even at $60+. $130 seems ridiculous - probably targeting the rich Boston weekenders rather than long distance hikers.

Lone Wolf
01-19-2016, 14:46
Who in the world would pay 130 dollars to stay in a hut?

folks that can afford it and there's no lack of them in the region

George
01-19-2016, 14:47
Who in the world would pay 130 dollars to stay in a hut?

pretty much everyone but work for stay (AMC members get some discount)

Lone Wolf
01-19-2016, 14:49
lake of the crowds hut for example $131
http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/rates/index.cfm?method=search

Lone Wolf
01-19-2016, 14:51
lake of the crowds hut for example $131
http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/rates/index.cfm?method=search

labor day sunday

colorado_rob
01-19-2016, 15:08
Who in the world would pay 130 dollars to stay in a hut?Well, we considered our hike through the Whites to be something truly special, and it was. My wife and I stayed in four huts, that's 8 total person-nights, during our 100-mile AT section. We paid more like $100-105, using the AMC discount (15% maybe?). That $800+ was more than well worth it for the convenience, excellent and filling food (we carried 3 days of trail food for our 7-night tromp through the whites), and for the cool folks we met from all over, including lots of NH locals. We actually plan a repeat. To each his own!

People that imply that people who occasionally spend money are snobs, are themselves, snobs. Our "normal" life is very modest and frugal, hence why we can occasionally splurge.

imscotty
01-19-2016, 15:21
I would point out that clearly they are not charging too much since in the summer the huts are almost always full. Let the market decide the price, the rest of us can make other arrangements.

I see the real problem as the unfair advantage a 'nonprofit' (AMC) has over the local mom and pops in the regions that are just trying to get by. The little hotels and cabins in the region cannot compete against the AMC huts. I know in many ways they are providing a different service, but they are still competing for the same vacation dollars. It is not a level playing field.

4eyedbuzzard
01-19-2016, 15:30
Not sure about $130 but it was common to pay $60-80 per person in Switzerland last September which included dinner and a light breakfast. Those were dormitory style lodging but for the most part higher end than what you would expect at a typical hostel on the AT. Still I thought it was pretty steep even at $60+. $130 seems ridiculous - probably targeting the rich Boston weekenders rather than long distance hikers.Long distance AT hikers, the 25% who start a thru and make it to NH, amount to under 1000 potential customers a year (including SOBO's) based on ATC stats. And many of them are hiking on frugal budgets and avoid the huts other than work for stay anyway (many of them complain about $8 campground fees, never mind the price of a motel or hut). So let's say at the most, thru-hikers are a potential market of perhaps 750 to 1000 hikers for maybe two hut stays each. That's 1500 - 2000 potential bookings out of over 36,000 booked nights per AMC in 2015. So thru-hikers are at most 4 to 5% of the potential market. And those thru-hikers who are willing to pay to stay have already chosen to do so at the current rates. Why would anyone running an organization target the remaining thru-hikers when they have a 90%+ occupancy rate in the hut system and 95% of that business comes from people who are NOT thru-hikers? If you're trying to fill the huts and generate the most potential revenue, you would try to expand on the demographic where 95% of your existing customers already come from.

The bigger question is, why do long distance/thru-hikers assume that they deserve anything beyond what is available to any other hiker, local or otherwise, rich or poor, etc.? AMC already offers work for stay to thru-hikers if it's available.

4eyedbuzzard
01-19-2016, 15:38
I would point out that clearly they are not charging too much since in the summer the huts are almost always full. Let the market decide the price, the rest of us can make other arrangements.

I see the real problem as the unfair advantage a 'nonprofit' (AMC) has over the local mom and pops in the regions that are just trying to get by. The little hotels and cabins in the region cannot compete against the AMC huts. I know in many ways they are providing a different service, but they are still competing for the same vacation dollars. It is not a level playing field.The Mom and Pop campgrounds cater more to the car camping demographic and often people with small children. They camp and go to tourist attractions like Clark's, Santa's Village, Six Gun City, Storyland, etc. in addition to the natural attractions that are easy walks. Groups doing day hikes, etc. with older children tend more to stay at the USFS and State campgrounds. They all have their niche markets. While there are exceptions, staying at huts while hiking with children isn't very typical, and it's not simply a cost consideration. It's more what people are looking for in a vacation.

full conditions
01-19-2016, 15:47
Well, we considered our hike through the Whites to be something truly special, and it was. My wife and I stayed in four huts, that's 8 total person-nights, during our 100-mile AT section. We paid more like $100-105, using the AMC discount (15% maybe?). That $800+ was more than well worth it for the convenience, excellent and filling food (we carried 3 days of trail food for our 7-night tromp through the whites), and for the cool folks we met from all over, including lots of NH locals. We actually plan a repeat. To each his own!

People that imply that people who occasionally spend money are snobs, are themselves, snobs. Our "normal" life is very modest and frugal, hence why we can occasionally splurge.
Completely agree. I worked at Lakes of the Clouds in "77 and most of the folks that stayed there that summer were working stiffs who valued the services and amenities the huts offered. My hiking partner and I will probably do our summer section hike in the Whites this year and stay in at least four of the huts maybe more. I'm a high school science teacher and she's a retired raft guide - not exactly landed gentry. I love their locations, the camaraderie, the chow, and the architecture. Having worked there, I can tell you its a labor intensive business and that's part of what you pay for.

colorado_rob
01-19-2016, 15:52
...
The bigger question is, why do long distance/thru-hikers assume that they deserve anything beyond what is available to any other hiker, local or otherwise, rich or poor, etc.? AMC already offers work for stay to thru-hikers if it's available.Do they (we)? I didn't see this. Sure, starving, poor AT thru hikers hope they can work for stay, and plenty do. But I sure didn't see any obvious self-entitlement with the LD hikers I chatted with, and we sure saw a lot. Even though we were paying customers, we hung out mostly with AT hikers, except at meal times when they were kicked out of the dining rooms. I think we hit the peak in NH, we SOBO'd through the whites and counted 195 AT thru hikers in a week (going against the grain). Rough count, a lot of guesswork, but really, we're pretty obvious.

4eyedbuzzard
01-19-2016, 16:17
Do they (we)? I didn't see this. Sure, starving, poor AT thru hikers hope they can work for stay, and plenty do. But I sure didn't see any obvious self-entitlement with the LD hikers I chatted with, and we sure saw a lot. Even though we were paying customers, we hung out mostly with AT hikers, except at meal times when they were kicked out of the dining rooms. I think we hit the peak in NH, we SOBO'd through the whites and counted 195 AT thru hikers in a week (going against the grain). Rough count, a lot of guesswork, but really, we're pretty obvious.Yeah, I was more responding to some of the previous comments - that the AMC caters to rich Boston weekenders rather than thru-hikers. And maybe they do to some degree. But why wouldn't they? There are a lot more weekend hikers than thru-hikers and the huts aren't cheap to run.

imscotty
01-19-2016, 17:07
The Mom and Pop campgrounds cater more to the car camping demographic and often people with small children. They camp and go to tourist attractions like Clark's, Santa's Village, Six Gun City, Storyland, etc. in addition to the natural attractions that are easy walks. Groups doing day hikes, etc. with older children tend more to stay at the USFS and State campgrounds. They all have their niche markets. While there are exceptions, staying at huts while hiking with children isn't very typical, and it's not simply a cost consideration. It's more what people are looking for in a vacation.

4eyebuzzard,

The proposed location for the new hut is in Crawford Notch State park, less than a 2 mile walk from a new proposed parking lot. I suggest that this new hut is in a different category than the alpine huts. I think that they are locating it in this convenient location to cater to those families with young children who want to get their feet wet with an 'outdoors experience.'

I think that the proposed facility is more in line with what the AMC did at the Highland Center (which, last time I stopped by, had plenty of young families with kids scampering about). Clearly this type of service is wanted, the Highland Center seems to be doing plenty of business. I just argue that the locals are seeing none of the benefit. The Highland Center is drawing money away that might have been spent at the restaurants and cabins in Carroll.

I say lets just call this what it is, a 'for profit' venture and make the AMC pay the same local taxes that any other for profit lodging and restaurant in the area would have to pay.

squeezebox
01-19-2016, 17:33
The AMC is obviously not, not for profit. If you can afford $100 a night you can afford the taxes.
IMHO

4eyedbuzzard
01-19-2016, 18:18
4eyebuzzard,

The proposed location for the new hut is in Crawford Notch State park, less than a 2 mile walk from a new proposed parking lot. I suggest that this new hut is in a different category than the alpine huts. I think that they are locating it in this convenient location to cater to those families with young children who want to get their feet wet with an 'outdoors experience.'

I think that the proposed facility is more in line with what the AMC did at the Highland Center (which, last time I stopped by, had plenty of young families with kids scampering about). Clearly this type of service is wanted, the Highland Center seems to be doing plenty of business. I just argue that the locals are seeing none of the benefit. The Highland Center is drawing money away that might have been spent at the restaurants and cabins in Carroll.

I say lets just call this what it is, a 'for profit' venture and make the AMC pay the same local taxes that any other for profit lodging and restaurant in the area would have to pay.


The AMC is obviously not, not for profit. If you can afford $100 a night you can afford the taxes.
IMHO
When not stated as "plus tax", AMC hut rates include NH 9% meals and lodging tax, which AMC pays to the state of NH. AMC spends its money/revenues that come from many sources mostly on land acquisition, hut operations, trail building and maintenance, lobbying, and salaries/wages. The huts operate pretty much on a break-even basis. For fiscal 2014 Outdoor Program Centers (the huts and campgrounds) revenues were $9.2M vs expenses of $9.9M as reported to IRS on Form 990 (non-profit tax return) http://www.outdoors.org/pdf/upload/AMC-Federal-990-Public-Disclosure.pdf


Excerpts from AMC FAQ's http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/lodges/highland/frequently-asked-questions.cfm

"The Highland Center received town zoning and planning approvals, and the AMC worked closely with town officials in Carroll to ensure compliance with local codes. To introduce its plans for the project, the AMC invited town residents to an open house at the Highland Center site."

"Construction of the Highland Center supported dozens of local workers, including tradesmen from throughout the region. Staffing needs at the Center and the Crawford Notch Depot and Macomber Family Information Center – which serves as a welcoming gateway for visitors to the town of Carroll – support 15 full-time jobs and more than 25 seasonal positions."

"...AMC makes a voluntary payment in lieu of taxes to the town, currently $10,000 a year. In October 2001, the AMC and the town of Carroll negotiated and signed a five-year agreement for payment in lieu of taxes. While the AMC is not required to pay taxes to the town, nor to make a payment in lieu of taxes, it is making this annual payment to ensure that its operations present no financial burden to the town. The AMC will continue to pay its fair share, and has significantly increased its contribution to the town to reflect an understanding that with a greater presence in Crawford Notch, its share of emergency services may also increase. The AMC also agreed to increase its voluntary payments in proportion to tax rate increases."

"The AMC does not operate tax free. The AMC pays its share of the New Hampshire Rooms and Meals taxes for its operations at Crawford Notch, Pinkham Notch, and in the backcountry (hut system) as required by state law. The AMC has negotiated payment in lieu of taxes with a number of communities in which it has a presence."

imscotty
01-19-2016, 18:35
Thank you for the clarification 4eyedbuzzard.

Coffee
01-19-2016, 19:34
Obviously if someone can afford to stay at $130/night and if the huts are full all summer, that means the market is working just fine. I think it is way too much, but I've never seen what is offered either. I was willing to pay $75/night in Europe but in retrospect would have preferred to camp at least some of the time. Everyone has different preferences.

Sarcasm the elf
01-19-2016, 19:41
Obviously if someone can afford to stay at $130/night and if the huts are full all summer, that means the market is working just fine. I think it is way too much, but I've never seen what is offered either. I was willing to pay $75/night in Europe but in retrospect would have preferred to camp at least some of the time. Everyone has different preferences.

Many of us also have significant others that have different preferences. ;)

I would never pay the hut rates on my own, but it is a small price for me to pay in order to have my wife agree to hike the Whites/Presi with me. :sun

fiddlehead
01-19-2016, 21:50
The AMC is obviously not, not for profit. If you can afford $100 a night you can afford the taxes.
IMHO

AMC: Appalacian Money Collectors

rickb
01-19-2016, 22:10
AMC: Appalacian Money Collectors

The good news is that hikers on a budget, or with other financial priorities, can benefit greatly greatly from all the financial contributions and work done by others.

33304

Lachlan
01-20-2016, 07:16
AMC: Appalacian Money Collectors
"The AMC is obviously not, not for profit. If you can afford $100 a night you can afford the taxes."
IMHO


lololol I hope I'm actually really drunk and that we are on the same page. The AMC is, and has been working against everything us long distance backpackers care about. They are corrupt money hungry weekend warriors….and oh my god it gets worse.
Ill stop now before this goes to far.

Lone Wolf
01-20-2016, 07:22
the AMC was there long before LD backpackers. they're a good organization

peakbagger
01-20-2016, 08:29
Thru hikers are "entertainment" for the hut guests.

The huts are predominantly on federal land and are they are under a special use permit from the USFS (except Lonesome Lake). They have to reapply for permission to remain on federal land on occasion and during the permit process the federal government imposes conditions on the club. There is generally a part of the process where AMC establishes a public benefit and hosting limited numbers of thru hikers is listed as a public benefit (as well as providing treated water and sanitary facilities to day hikers). The state of NH process is far less rigorous. The reported annual lease rate for Lonesome Lake a similar facility to the proposed hut, is $6,000 per year so its not a high revenue to the state park system. Where there is revenue is the room and meals tax charged to every guest and the expected secondary revenue from the room and meals tax paid by the guests driving to and from the huts.

This process also applies to three private ski areas in the WMNF, Wildcat, Attitash and Loon, reportedly the total yearly rental fees for all three resorts is less than 30K for all three with far greater impact.

full conditions
01-20-2016, 09:19
"The AMC is obviously not, not for profit. If you can afford $100 a night you can afford the taxes."
IMHO


lololol I hope I'm actually really drunk and that we are on the same page. The AMC is, and has been working against everything us long distance backpackers care about. They are corrupt money hungry weekend warriors….and oh my god it gets worse.
Ill stop now before this goes to far.
That's quite an assertion you've made there. Any evidence to support your claim of "corruption"?

colorado_rob
01-20-2016, 09:26
That's quite an assertion you've made there. Any evidence to support your claim of "corruption"?Yeah, where does all this AMC animosity come from again? Because, in a highly used area we're charged a whole eight dollars for a couple of campsites that are manned by a caretaker? The AMC sure seems like a solid organization to me.

rafe
01-20-2016, 09:44
Yeah, where does all this AMC animosity come from again? Because, in a highly used area we're charged a whole eight dollars for a couple of campsites that are manned by a caretaker? The AMC sure seems like a solid organization to me.

Thru hikers coming up from GA have had months of cost-free and mostly rule-free camping in the woods, then suddenly get to the White Mountains where all that changes. I think that's the root of it. What thru-hikers fail to realize is that the universe does not revolve around them.

I have no dog in this fight, really. I see the AMC as a necessary evil. Compare the Smokies to the White Mountains. AMC is responsible for a particularly beautiful, fragile, and intensely popular bit of the AT. No easy solutions here.

4eyedbuzzard
01-20-2016, 09:44
"The AMC is obviously not, not for profit. If you can afford $100 a night you can afford the taxes."
IMHO


lololol I hope I'm actually really drunk and that we are on the same page. The AMC is, and has been working against everything us long distance backpackers care about. They are corrupt money hungry weekend warriors….and oh my god it gets worse.
Ill stop now before this goes to far.You obviously have no clue - ABSOLUTELY ZERO - on what the AMC does in the way of land acquisition to protect the AT corridor and surrounding wilderness, nor on how its lobbying efforts impact state and federal funding and legislation on trail related environmental projects and causes, nor on its adult and youth programs, nor on its trail building and maintenance efforts. But please, feel free to take a hike on the trails you take for granted.

tdoczi
01-20-2016, 09:54
Yeah, where does all this AMC animosity come from again? Because, in a highly used area we're charged a whole eight dollars for a couple of campsites that are manned by a caretaker? The AMC sure seems like a solid organization to me.

its because like no place else the WMNF confronts AT hikers with the reality that they are not special, they are not needed, they will not be catered to and that frankly, they could all just go away and no one will care nor even notice. they don't like dealing with this reality and the AMC is a convenient scapegoat and the most visible target. there are so many other places on the whole trail, hostels and other places that exist solely for them, depend on them for survival (or also, in many cases for the enjoyment and fulfillement of the proprietors, but im not sure that distinction matters much) and as a consequence fawn over them. they arrive at a white mountain hut teeming with people who paid $130 to be there (side note- this is possible because of how high demand is, further proof of how not needed they are) so they feel the need to lash out and blame someone for the fact that theres one place where they arent being treated like theyre a big deal.

colorado_rob
01-20-2016, 10:11
its because like no place else the WMNF confronts AT hikers with the reality that they are not special, they are not needed, they will not be catered to and that frankly, they could all just go away and no one will care nor even notice. they don't like dealing with this reality and the AMC is a convenient scapegoat and the most visible target. there are so many other places on the whole trail, hostels and other places that exist solely for them, depend on them for survival (or also, in many cases for the enjoyment and fulfillement of the proprietors, but im not sure that distinction matters much) and as a consequence fawn over them. they arrive at a white mountain hut teeming with people who paid $130 to be there (side note- this is possible because of how high demand is, further proof of how not needed they are) so they feel the need to lash out and blame someone for the fact that theres one place where they arent being treated like theyre a big deal.Yeah, good answer. See, we can agree now and then, eh?

Scrum
01-20-2016, 10:16
The AMC is obviously not, not for profit. If you can afford $100 a night you can afford the taxes.
IMHO

AMC is a "not-for-profit." That term does not mean that an organization does not generate revenue. It means that the revenue exceeding expenses (the profits) is directed towards the publicly beneficial purpose served by the entity (in this case, nature/wildlife preservation, education, health) rather than be extracted for use by owners. When organizations meet the criteria in the tax code of being an entity focused on publicly beneficial purposes, they are not required to pay taxes and may receive donations that are tax deductible by the donors, because our society wants to encourage private citizens to be able to serve the public good.

Sarcasm the elf
01-20-2016, 10:44
its because like no place else the WMNF confronts AT hikers with the reality that they are not special, they are not needed, they will not be catered to and that frankly, they could all just go away and no one will care nor even notice. they don't like dealing with this reality and the AMC is a convenient scapegoat and the most visible target. there are so many other places on the whole trail, hostels and other places that exist solely for them, depend on them for survival (or also, in many cases for the enjoyment and fulfillement of the proprietors, but im not sure that distinction matters much) and as a consequence fawn over them. they arrive at a white mountain hut teeming with people who paid $130 to be there (side note- this is possible because of how high demand is, further proof of how not needed they are) so they feel the need to lash out and blame someone for the fact that theres one place where they arent being treated like theyre a big deal.

This...

On a side note, most of the places I've been in the Whites charge a lot more than $80-$130 for a night's stay and two meals, and those places didn't have to airlift supplies.

Coffee
01-20-2016, 11:10
I don't know anything about the AMC's finances and my comments aren't directed towards that organization. However, I have dealt with non-profits in the past and can say without question that "non-profit" is a tax status and not a business model. Many non profits are exceedingly profitable. Many non profits also pay their executives very well. This can be justified sometimes and sometimes it cannot be. It seems like there is a lot of animosity toward AMC. I'm not sure what's driving that but saying that they are non profit and showing that they are doing a public good are two different things.

As I mentioned the AMC huts sound a lot like the hut system in Switzerland and from what I've read many of the same amenities are offered. These are important services for people who would otherwise not be able to see the areas in question. I met a number of hikers in Switzerland who were walking short distances with just day packs because they were too elderly or not in good enough health to backpack. Since these areas were not really wilderness, I don't see anything wrong with such use at all. There's a market for it and the market determines pricing. If the AMC huts charge $130/night, an amount I would not pay, but are still filled to capacity during the season, then that is good evidence that the service is in high demand. Then, whether operated on a for profit or non profit basis, a meaningful economic exchange is taking place. Those of us who don't want to partake in the exchange should be able to find other options.

tdoczi
01-20-2016, 11:45
This...

On a side note, most of the places I've been in the Whites charge a lot more than $80-$130 for a night's stay and two meals, and those places didn't have to airlift supplies.


further AT hiker thinking, though perhaps not even consciously, is that if only someone other than the AMC ran the huts and campgrounds in the WMNF then they would be as cheap as everywhere else along the trail (because the price point is really just about greed and making someone rich) and this would somehow make them some kind of AT hiker utopia, as if charging less money would be not "catering" to "rich" people and they just wouldnt go.

Mags
01-20-2016, 12:33
The AMC is, and has been working against everything us long distance backpackers care about. [/COLOR]

SmartPhone apps? AYCE buffets at restaurants? Hiker feeds at road crossings? 4G connection to update Instagram? :D

Being serious, I cut my backpacking teeth in the Whites. Is the AMC perfect? Probably not. But no organizations are.

I always felt they did a good job maintaining a very high use area that is more fragile that many areas of the Appalachians.

Lone Wolf
01-20-2016, 13:11
Is the AMC perfect? Probably not. But no organizations are.



at least they ain't sellin' Bill Bryson bobbleheads

rickb
01-20-2016, 13:32
Thru hikers are "entertainment" for the hut guests.

The huts are predominantly on federal land and are they are under a special use permit from the USFS (except Lonesome Lake). They have to reapply for permission to remain on federal land on occasion and during the permit process the federal government imposes conditions on the club. There is generally a part of the process where AMC establishes a public benefit and hosting limited numbers of thru hikers is listed as a public benefit (as well as providing treated water and sanitary facilities to day hikers).

Isn't one of the backcountry huts actually on land owned by the AMC? A historical anomaly of sorts?

As for the refuge afforded to thru hikers being public benefit, that may be true-- however compensating a thru hiker with room and board for working in a kitchen or managing human waste WITHOUT all the protections afforded a temporary worker -- like workmans' comp -- Is definitely coloring outside the lines.

Tradition has extended that practice-- but ill informed carping about the club just precipitates its eventual ellimination.

How could it be otherwise?

Recall this club was forced to "charge" the hut croos for thier accommodations to satisfy the IRS, and build handicap accessible facilities way on the backwoods. We should be more grateful for thier accomdations, and we should be gratefully those staying at he huts help subsidize the cost of staffing the caretaker campsites and trail maintenance.

tdoczi
01-20-2016, 13:37
Recall this club was forced to "charge" the hut croos for thier accommodations to satisfy the IRS, and build handicap accessible facilities way on the backwoods.

the ADA compliance required of the huts is one of my favorite stories i use to illustrate the idiocy of government and of certain political ideologies. well, specifically the wheelchair ramps (some of the other stuff may be useful) its great cause outside of hikers no one has any idea of such lunacy, its fun to tell them about it.

Lone Wolf
01-20-2016, 13:39
the ones that whine about and talk hatred the most are the same hypocrites that use the huts for water, toilets, AYCE soup and leftover breakfast stuff

LoneStranger
01-20-2016, 15:08
the ADA compliance required of the huts is one of my favorite stories i use to illustrate the idiocy of government and of certain political ideologies. well, specifically the wheelchair ramps (some of the other stuff may be useful) its great cause outside of hikers no one has any idea of such lunacy, its fun to tell them about it.

While that is good fun for you I'm sure, you might want to read this http://www.ohcroo.com/galehead_trek.cfm

It might make you change how you tell that story, it might not, but it should.

peakbagger
01-20-2016, 15:21
Isn't one of the backcountry huts actually on land owned by the AMC? A historical anomaly of sorts?

Madison Hut was built long before the WMNF. AMC may have owned the land underneath it at some point, but when I check the special use permit drawing back from 1998 when they had to re-permit the huts, they included the entire hut area in the permit even though they show a former property boundary on the drawing. Thus if they do own the land under the hut, at some time they accepted WMNF regulation of the hut. The wastewater treatment system which is located well away from the hut complex is outside the former property boundary on WMNF land so the club pretty much cant operate without it.

George
01-20-2016, 15:24
at least they ain't sellin' Bill Bryson bobbleheads

you mean the 2 I bought in AMC gift shop are fake ? - LW, this time you have really crushed me

Lone Wolf
01-20-2016, 15:27
you mean the 2 I bought in AMC gift shop are fake ? - LW, this time you have really crushed me

AMC is sellin' that china made junk too?

rickb
01-20-2016, 15:29
the ones that whine about and talk hatred the most are the same hypocrites that use the huts for water, toilets, AYCE soup and leftover breakfast stuff

Yup, and the ones who post in hysterics about the cost for a family of 5 don't go backpacking with their kids-- if they even have them.

Very odd why some worry so much spend thier hard-earned money.

And refuse to recognize the 1,800+ miles of trails maintained by the club, the 10s of thousands of acres purchased and permanently protected along the HMW by the club, so many urban/underserved youth introduced to the outdoors, subsidized caretaker sites where the club literally takes care of their ****, and so much more.

The false narrative perpetuated by former thru hikers who should know better is particularly shameful.

George
01-20-2016, 15:29
. But please, feel free to take a hike on the trails you take for granted.

just like everyone who uses/ bitches about the trail/ facilities of all the other trail clubs, but never lifts a finger to volunteer/ help out

tdoczi
01-20-2016, 15:32
While that is good fun for you I'm sure, you might want to read this http://www.ohcroo.com/galehead_trek.cfm

It might make you change how you tell that story, it might not, but it should.

to me it isnt so much that "no one in a wheelchair could ever make it there" as it is the notion that upon making it there they would be thwarted and denied entry by 1 or 2 small manmade steps.

the fact that a group of people set out to prove the ramp somehow "necessary" is actually kind of humorous. i applaud them for being able to make it there, truly. but to then claim that once there they needed the ramp?

George
01-20-2016, 15:42
- that the AMC caters to rich Boston weekenders rather than thru-hikers.


when someone else pays over 100 and I get essentially the same thing for free I think I am the one being catered to

OK, so I sweep the hut floor in the morning - If I am not in a hurry I hang around the shelter till everyone leaves and sweep/ clean up also, but the others also did not pay

ChefATLTCT
01-20-2016, 15:51
The AT in Massachusetts was a mess before the AMC took over the ALL VOLUNTEER MAINTENANCE PROGRAM. Every year volunteer AMC members work 1000s of hours on the AT in Massachusetts keeping it open for all hikers. Spend a couple of Workdays with the AMC trail crews in MA or NH and your opinion of them will change.

And if it were not for those huts, this past year the 90 year old guy who wanted one last hike up Washington, was able to do it, taking three days and staying in the HUTS. search Boston Globe story if you would like

Finally on my GA to ME hike in 2000 I passed thru the whites without staying at one hut. it can be done

BonBon
01-22-2016, 13:26
I think a lot of the issues thru hikers experience with the huts could be solved with consistency and communication. For example- a clear explanation of how many they can accommodate for a work for stay. This hut will take x amount of people. Then a little flip sign outside saying they are full. I had a mixed bag experience with the huts simply because the rules seemed to change from hut to hut. I think if people KNOW what to expect and the huts stick to the plan, it will get through our thick heads. Maybe if the trail was routed at least a mile away from each hut this would not be such an issue. I do know this though- if there are lots of people complaining- maybe it isn't because of ONLY entitled hikers- maybe there are issues that need to be explored. Communication and consistancy are key.

rickb
01-22-2016, 13:53
I think a lot of the issues thru hikers experience with the huts could be solved with consistency and communication. For example- a clear explanation of how many they can accommodate for a work for stay. This hut will take x amount of people. Then a little flip sign outside saying they are full. I had a mixed bag experience with the huts simply because the rules seemed to change from hut to hut. I think if people KNOW what to expect and the huts stick to the plan, it will get through our thick heads. Maybe if the trail was routed at least a mile away from each hut this would not be such an issue. I do know this though- if there are lots of people complaining- maybe it isn't because of ONLY entitled hikers- maybe there are issues that need to be explored. Communication and consistancy are key.

I was of the understanding that this information sheet is still being conspicuously posted for the benefit of thru hikers entering the Whites.

http://www.outdoors.org/pdf/upload/2013-Thru-hiker-brochure-FINAL.pdf

Have things changed?

Slo-go'en
01-22-2016, 14:03
There is no way to reroute the trail to avoid the huts without it being a road walk in the valley around the mountains.

dudeijuststarted
01-22-2016, 14:07
Well, we considered our hike through the Whites to be something truly special, and it was. My wife and I stayed in four huts, that's 8 total person-nights, during our 100-mile AT section. We paid more like $100-105, using the AMC discount (15% maybe?). That $800+ was more than well worth it for the convenience, excellent and filling food (we carried 3 days of trail food for our 7-night tromp through the whites), and for the cool folks we met from all over, including lots of NH locals. We actually plan a repeat. To each his own!

People that imply that people who occasionally spend money are snobs, are themselves, snobs. Our "normal" life is very modest and frugal, hence why we can occasionally splurge.

^this

Some people have money saved, most of which have worked very hard for it, this is something to emulate, not get angry about. If one despises the AMC so much, kindly pass by the huts and save the snacks, meals, and work-for-stays for the appreciative. The AMC goes way back and has made hiking in the daunting White Mountains accessible through decades of very hard work (and an era of considerable risk.) I for one look forward to a hut-hopping traverse again in the future.

BonBon
01-22-2016, 14:14
I was of the understanding that this information sheet is still being conspicuously posted for the benefit of thru hikers entering the Whites.

http://www.outdoors.org/pdf/upload/2013-Thru-hiker-brochure-FINAL.pdf

Have things changed?

Yes- posted. This is where consistency comes into play. It varied far from what the posted rules are in most of the huts. That is why I think a simple way of communicating-like a sign- would be helpful.And simple. Maybe a guideline sheet at the beginning of the Whites telling people what to expect. Not only for hikers, but for the hut croos as well. Give those kids the tools they need to make those rules understandable and clear. The hikers don't want to feel like pain in the asses, and the croo does not want to feel vilified. Look, I think the AMC does a great job with the trails and I also appreciate how they make the outdoors experience attainable for people. I experienced very positive interactions from most of the huts, where I purchased soup and made donations and I also experienced some burned out negativity from the kids- and I get it. Responsibility from the hikers is important, but so is clear communication that is backed up by sticking to the posted rules. It would help everyone.

Slo-go'en
01-22-2016, 16:33
Responsibility from the hikers is important, but so is clear communication that is backed up by sticking to the posted rules. It would help everyone.

Actually, the rules are pretty simple. 2 work for stay slots (at the discretion of the Croo, they don't have to let any free loaders stay) and don't ask before 3 pm. Everyone else is out of luck.

But, when 15 thru hikers show up at 5 PM wanting work for stay and they already have a full house, things get complicated. Do you let them all stay or turn them away and risk having them camp illegally and damage the fragile alpine environment? It's a really difficult balancing act and judgement call. It's also influenced by how the group who showed up before you acted.

4eyedbuzzard
01-22-2016, 21:34
Actually, hiking through the Whites is quite simple from a planning perspective. If you don't have hut reservations, you should be prepared to descend below treeline every night, leaving enough time to find a suitable and legal place to set up camp. Yes, this involves hiking down and up significant elevations sometimes, but that isn't something thru-hikers should find particularly unusual. The earlier you arrive at a maintained hut or campground, the better your chances for work for stay or stay for pay. It's not really hard to understand.

Deadeye
01-23-2016, 14:23
More of an example of income stratification of a very wealthy few.

Oh c'mon. $130 bucks is hardly gazillionaire territory. Anyone with a job who wanted to make this a priority could handle a nice vacation in the Whites staying in the huts. It costs me that much to stay in a lousy motel on the Maine beach, and they don't even warm the ocean for you.

Coffee
01-23-2016, 14:33
Oh c'mon. $130 bucks is hardly gazillionaire territory. Anyone with a job who wanted to make this a priority could handle a nice vacation in the Whites staying in the huts. It costs me that much to stay in a lousy motel on the Maine beach, and they don't even warm the ocean for you.
$130 is hardly cheap. Other than a short stay in NYC in December, I can't even remember when I paid over $100 for a room in the US, much less a dorm bed. But the market is what it is. If the huts are full, then there is demand. Can't debate that.

Slo-go'en
01-23-2016, 15:56
What does a week in Disney land cost a family of 4? 2-3 grand or something absurd like that?

rafe
01-23-2016, 16:04
$130 is hardly cheap. Other than a short stay in NYC in December, I can't even remember when I paid over $100 for a room in the US, much less a dorm bed. But the market is what it is. If the huts are full, then there is demand. Can't debate that.

Do you get out of the South much?

Sarcasm the elf
01-23-2016, 16:42
Do you get out of the South much?

I don't think I've ever paid less than $100 per night for a hotel room in our neck of the woods..:

full conditions
01-23-2016, 17:17
$130 is hardly cheap. Other than a short stay in NYC in December, I can't even remember when I paid over $100 for a room in the US, much less a dorm bed. But the market is what it is. If the huts are full, then there is demand. Can't debate that.
Try running a hotel where you need to hump in all your supplies on someone's back - including the fuel.

egilbe
01-23-2016, 17:24
Oh c'mon. $130 bucks is hardly gazillionaire territory. Anyone with a job who wanted to make this a priority could handle a nice vacation in the Whites staying in the huts. It costs me that much to stay in a lousy motel on the Maine beach, and they don't even warm the ocean for you.

$130x4x7= $3640. For 90% of the people, thats more than a month's income. In ME, NH and VT, thats more than 90% of the population clears in three months. But no, there is nothing wrong with that.

tdoczi
01-23-2016, 19:00
$130x4x7= $3640. For 90% of the people, thats more than a month's income. In ME, NH and VT, thats more than 90% of the population clears in three months. But no, there is nothing wrong with that.

i really doubt that 90% of the population clears less than 3600 in 3 months. 3640x12 is 43,680, median income in maine is $38K roughly. so try again.

but more relevant, on a full night at lakes of the clouds how many of the people there are families of 4 planning on spending 7 days hitting every hut?

Tuckahoe
01-23-2016, 19:18
$130x4x7= $3640. For 90% of the people, thats more than a month's income. In ME, NH and VT, thats more than 90% of the population clears in three months. But no, there is nothing wrong with that.


i really doubt that 90% of the population clears less than 3600 in 3 months. 3640x12 is 43,680, median income in maine is $38K roughly. so try again.

but more relevant, on a full night at lakes of the clouds how many of the people there are families of 4 planning on spending 7 days hitting every hut?

Glad someone called the BS. Let it be pointed out as well that $130 is the peak season non-member adult rate. There are various rates for members, non-member, older children and young children. I also noted that, the huts counted 12-17 year olds as children. And yet how many activites and venues usually consider that age group to be suitable for an adult fee?

Sorry, but $130 a night for room, meals and the rustic experience is not particularly expenive, quite reasonable actually. It is a vacation after all and we all do have a choice on what we want to do and are willing to afford.

Coffee
01-23-2016, 19:18
Do you get out of the South much?

Sure, I was in NYC in December briefly, in Europe last September, and CA for a PCT section last Spring. The hotel in NYC was over $200 and I spent around $130/night in Zurich and Venice, and an average of $70 in the mountain huts in Switzerland and France.

I've never been to an AMC hut so it might be worth $130/night - if it is full, then obviously it is worth it to many folks, I have no issue with that.

rafe
01-23-2016, 19:34
Europe is still an excellent travel deal, especially with US currency. So not really fair to compare.

You're doing very well to get a decent room for $100 in the Berkshires, Green Mountains, or White Mountains in season.

Maine starts to get more affordable 'cuz it's so far from everything. Except for some of the coast towns (pricey again.)

Not defending or deriding AMC hut rates.

Lone Wolf
01-23-2016, 19:37
so in closing this new hut will have no effect on AT hikers. hikers blow $150 dollars on walking sticks so it's all relative

4eyedbuzzard
01-23-2016, 20:05
so in closing this new hut will have no effect on AT hikers. hikers blow $150 dollars on walking sticks so it's all relativeSeems to be concern from some that another hut will attract more of THOSE people and increase crowding on THEIR trail.

Coffee
01-23-2016, 20:19
Europe is still an excellent travel deal, especially with US currency. So not really fair to compare.
.

Certainly better than in 2014 when the Euro was around $1.35. Much more palatable with the Euro at $1.08.

Puddlefish
01-23-2016, 21:11
NH has recreation options for everyone. You can go to Loon Mountain and be seen in your $500 ski jacket, or you can go down the road and actually ski on better trails at Cannon. Stay at the shiny new hut, stay at a tentsite, or hike down below the treeline and try to find a flat spot to pitch your tent.

WILLIAM HAYES
01-23-2016, 21:19
I think its great build it and they will come

Old Hillwalker
01-24-2016, 09:31
Reading all the comments about pricing prompted me to post my in-progress plan for hiking in the Spanish Pyrenees this oncoming summer. The prices for lodging do not include meals. The listed amounts include discounts in most refuges for being a member of the Austrian Mountaineering Club (UK Chapter). I plan on tenting approximately every other day and using the Refuges for most meals so that cost will be about 15 to 20 Euros a day. And sometimes more. One major monetary drawback is that the Refuges have bars :)



33340

rafe
01-24-2016, 09:36
So Spain is pretty cheap, still. Good to know. :)

Pedaling Fool
01-24-2016, 09:42
When in Spain just be careful of them crazy Brit tourists driving on the wrong side of the road:D http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/giant-alpecin-riders-injured-in-training-camp-accident/


A local newspaper, Diario Informacion, reported the crash took place at 15:15 local time, and involved a vehicle on CV-720 in the town of Benigembla, in the hills above Calpe. A photograph published by Informacion.es shows two shattered Giant bicycles. Local emergency services said that the car was driven by an English woman who invaded the opposite side of the road.Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin and Paris-Roubaix winner John Degenkolb were present at the camp, Ciclo21.com confirmed today. Telegraaf.nl reported that Dumoulin and his compatriot Roy Curvers are OK, while the French Le Telegramme outlet said that Warren Barguil was among the injured.

At least one rider was airlifted from the scene of the accident to a hospital in Sant Joan de Alacante, while others were taken to a hospital in Denia. The wreck was reportedly caused by a British tourist crossing onto the wrong side of the road.

Sarcasm the elf
01-24-2016, 10:02
When in Spain just be careful of them crazy Brit tourists driving on the wrong side of the road:D http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/giant-alpecin-riders-injured-in-training-camp-accident/

Not to mention Speed Camera evading muppets!

http://boingboing.net/2008/10/27/german-traffic-cops.html

(Okay, not the same country, but I like posting that one.)

rafe
01-24-2016, 18:59
BTW, I think that $130 per night figure is wildly inflated. The story in the link below quotes an average of $60 per night.

http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:5535f2c26f8d41fa886ae860c8f1e8 52

4eyedbuzzard
01-24-2016, 20:11
BTW, I think that $130 per night figure is wildly inflated. The story in the link below quotes an average of $60 per night.

http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:5535f2c26f8d41fa886ae860c8f1e8 52I believe it averages out at $60 due to self service rates of around $30 during off season - no meals, caretaker only. Rates vary, some of the huts are less expensive than others. Weekday in season rates are usually more like $131, and over $150 on weekends for non-members. If you buy a membership for $50 it pays itself over 2 stays with the discount.

rafe
01-24-2016, 21:02
IIRC the two times I've stayed in huts, I never paid more than about $40. There were no meals involved either time.

PennyPincher
01-24-2016, 21:09
For those of you concerned that the AMC is making it's employees rich.....
http://www.outdoors.org/pdf/upload/AMC-Federal-990-Public-Disclosure.pdf

I personally don't think a $22-$30M/year company paying it's CEO $237K/yr is excessive

I do find it amusing that you have to pay for your food/lodging when "volunteering" to work on trails and still clean your own room and clean up after meals...
http://activities.outdoors.org/search/index.cfm/action/details/id/87721

4eyedbuzzard
01-24-2016, 21:12
For those of you concerned that the AMC is making it's employees rich.....
http://www.outdoors.org/pdf/upload/AMC-Federal-990-Public-Disclosure.pdf

I personally don't think a $22-$30M/year company paying it's CEO $237K/yr is excessive

I do find it amusing that you have to pay for your food/lodging when "volunteering" to work on trails and still clean your own room and clean up after meals...
http://activities.outdoors.org/search/index.cfm/action/details/id/87721

Actually, when you include revenues from memberships, donations, etc. that must also be managed, the AMC is more like a $125M/year company.

peakbagger
01-24-2016, 21:23
There are errors in the article so I sure wouldn't use it as a definitive source for pricing. There are two distinct operating modes for huts that may have confused the writer or was deliberate. There is caretaker service that is generally off season (late fall/winter/Spring. In that case there are self cooking options at the three low elevations huts, the high huts are not open. During summer and fall, contrary to the article, all the huts are full service. AMC did try self service at Carter Notch in summer for at least one season about 10 years ago but quickly went back to full service. AMC varies their rates for huts and does not publish an easy to access rate sheets so the only way to find out rates is to pick dates in their reservation system. So for Zealand Hut I find $33 midweek and $53 weekend for a bunk and self service caretaker basis , $131 full service midweek and $151 weekends. These are non member rates, generally member rates are $20 less in the summer, the discount is less during caretaker season. So the premise of $100 on average is comparing apples to oranges. There are also specials, generally multiday trips (20% off for five nights and 10% for three nights) these deals are usually during the week when the huts may not be full. There are also "guided hut to hut trips". Hut use if very weather dependent, a portion of the reservation is non refundable and reportedly the club makes a profit refilling the empty slots. If the guest is a no show, the food is already at the hut so any fee collected for walk in hikers is extra profit. There are also a lot of "freebies", officers of AMC reportedly get free or substantially reduced rates and friends of the club frequently are let in on special positions at the huts that allow free nights.

Probably the most interesting comparison is the Randolph Mountain Club Gray Knob cabin. The club charges $20 non member a night for a year round caretaker fee, they don't offer full service but unlike the low AMC huts Gray Knob is near tree line. They have to fly in firewood. RMC is a true non profit, they have a paid summer trail crew and the caretakers get paid, all the officers are volunteer. They don't have a cooking stove like the AMC huts during the winter and the caretaker is decidedly more thrifty with wood. They are also first come first served, no reservations.

Just because AMC offers only caretaker service in the winter at the current three low huts, that doesn't necessarily mean that the new hut wont have full service for a far longer season. Since the hut is going to be built from scratch, it could be winterized. Maine Huts and Trails which is a new hut system in Maine runs full service in summer and winter. AMC is very limited on when they can run helicopter flights to the current huts, basically beginning of the season and the end of the season. There is no reason why they would be limited for the new hut unless that is part of their lease from the state of NH. This makes winter season full service operation even easier and if offered I would expect they would be booked steady.While looking for rates I noticed that most Saturday nights at Zealand are already booked for much of this winter.

Do note the person who created the petition makes his living charging folks to take them ice climbing. The waterfall system below the proposed hut is a popular entry level ice climbing area and several ice climbers have mentioned in the past that the paid ice climbing groups tend to monopolize the resource. I am not an ice climber so I couldn't confirm it. In general the addition of the hut brings in more folks close to popular ice climbing areas which reduces potential income to guides so the petition may have been started with a somewhat self serving reason but based on the response many folks jumped on the bandwagon. AMC has a less than stellar reputation on how they handle paid full time staff in the area. Full time outdoor type jobs are the holy grail for many outdoor major college graduates. The reality is that AMC is mostly a seasonal operation and depends on seasonal workers to do much of the work. Promises are sometimes made to retain staff that aren't lived up to and it leads to a high level of bitterness when the folks who do the hard work for a few seasons finally figure out that they don't have the right connections to go full time. Many end up staying in the area and they take great pleasure in sticking it to AMC when they can.

The individual from Harts location is also not without bias, he owns the biggest business in the area, The Notchland Inn, and in general will benefit from increased traffic in the region.