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  1. #1

    Post Appalachian Trail Shelters - Architecture Thesis Survey

    Hello, I am currently studying architecture at the Savannah College of Art and Design. The Focus of my thesis is the redesigning of Appalachian Trail Shelters without sacrificing the hiking experience.

    Personal experience and research has shown that the existing shelters are in major need of repair, and it is my hopes that the information gathered from this survey will benefit my thesis and provide a resource for the designs of future Appalachian Trail Shelters.

    Below is the link to the survey: (estimated time to complete is between 4-8 minutes)

    Thank you!


    https://adobeformscentral.com/?f=YiaKKZYK25w5o0MtRKpdKA

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    All except the Smokies! Well with the exception of Davenport Gap

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    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    I don't agree. While spartan, most of the shelters were in good repair.

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    While I can only attest to Shelters in the Smokies I've heard more complaints about uncontrollable things like mice and other people

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    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    is this serious. last part of survey???? have you been to a shelter ???

    Rate the following amenities by how strongly you agree with their addition in future Appalachian Trail Shelters.*
    Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree
    Electric Lighting
    Heating / Air Conditioning
    Electric Outlets
    Heated Running Water
    Gas or Electric Stoves
    Lavatories
    Emergency Phones
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

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    "Without them we perish." eArThworm's Avatar
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    Electricity?!?!? (See the survey.) You can't be serious.

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    These are all amenities I feel do not belong in a shelter, however I have spoken with other hikers that feel it is important to have some of these.

    While I do not agree with them, I felt it important to get a more collected understanding of what to and what not to incorporate into my designs

    Thank you for bringing that section up, I know it is a controversial topic.

  8. #8

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    If I was going to redesign a shelter I would focus more on ease of construction and ease of maintenance. That is if you want anything to ever come of your work. Hiker amenities are the last thing I would worry about. A metal roof and three walls is all you need. That is called heaven in bad weather. Some considerations though: a table to cook on is nice, the longer the overhang the better, someplace to sit other than the sleeping platform is nice. Just keep it simple.

  9. #9

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    So I have been getting some questions about the contents of the survey, especially in the amenities portion

    I feel it important to state that, I personally, do not agree with the addition of these features in any future structures. However with the emergence of structures like the Fontana Hilton, as well as interviews with other hikers, I have heard the suggestion of adding features such as small solar panels to provide eletricity for recharging a hand held gps

    Again, these are amenities I do not agree with, but it is not for me to decide what goes into a shelter, it is you... the hikers.

    So please, if the idea of adding electricity angers you, let me know... any feedback, positive or negative is beneficial towards my thesis

  10. #10

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    So I have been getting some questions about the contents of the survey, especially in the amenities portion

    I feel it important to state that, I personally, do not agree with the addition of these features in any future structures. However with the emergence of structures like the Fontana Hilton, as well as interviews with other hikers, I have heard the suggestion of adding features such as small solar panels to provide eletricity for recharging a hand held gps

    Again, these are amenities I do not agree with, but it is not for me to decide what goes into a shelter, it is you... the hikers.

    So please, if the idea of adding electricity angers you, let me know... any feedback, positive or negative is beneficial towards my thesis

  11. #11

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    You need to talk to Bob Peoples.

  12. #12

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    ^Don't worry about it...they are just asking questions^

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by zcalla20 View Post
    Again, these are amenities I do not agree with, but it is not for me to decide what goes into a shelter, it is you... the hikers.
    Hikers don't actually decide, the ATC does. They have a 'wilderness experience' thing that they try to do. I have heard of volunteer shelter overseers getting in arguments with the ATC about making things too nice.

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    what no cable tv

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    Quote Originally Posted by zcalla20 View Post
    So please, if the idea of adding electricity angers you, let me know... any feedback, positive or negative is beneficial towards my thesis
    I don't think there was any anger there. Not sure why you did.

    On the other hand that, that section of your survey suggested to me (rightfully or wrongfully) a fundamental lack of understanding about AT Shelters, their place on the Trail and hikers' relationships to them.

    To my way of thinking it would be better to rewrite your survey in a way that might help you get that understanding-- before thinking of possible answers.

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    what people need in a shelter is a privy, bear cables, covered cooking area/benches, and a roof that doesnt leak..much..

  17. #17

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    I'd go for having wind powered water pumps and solar powered battery chargers in shelters Heat and air conditioning would be nice too, now that I think about it.

    Seriously, shelter design is an interesting subject. I've spent many an hour studying the way a shelter was built - while waiting for it to stop raining... It's hard to beat the original three sided log lean-to for simple and functional. The current Georgia shelter design is I think a very good optimization of the original lean-to design.

    Now that matterials can be flow onto site, there are some pretty fancy shelters on the trail. I think it is a mistake to get too fancy, as the cost of matainance will eventually become an issue.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    I don't think there was any anger there. Not sure why you did.

    On the other hand that, that section of your survey suggested to me (rightfully or wrongfully) a fundamental lack of understanding about AT Shelters, their place on the Trail and hikers' relationships to them.

    To my way of thinking it would be better to rewrite your survey in a way that might help you get that understanding-- before thinking of possible answers.

    Agreed, I thought the survey questions implied that it was time to upgrade the shelters.

    In my experience, people that want these sorts of upgrades do not make up the majority of hikers and have a mentality that is at odds wi the majority of the people that use the trail.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

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    Here are some features I would like to see in future shelters.


    1. I would like there to be more space where people can't sleep. Sometimes the shelters get crowded with sleeping people, and there's no space to put my stuff.
    2. smaller shelters
    3. more nails sticking out of walls
    4. more cans on the strings where you put your food, or more metal boxes
    5. Outlets are nice as long as they don't require maintenance. This isn't for all shelters, and it's not a priority.
    6. polyurethane glue
    7. better signs pointing to the shelter
    8. If it's on land that is protected for a few hundred years, it should usually be made of permanent materials.


    I would also like to see more blazes. These are more important than shelters. Lots of blazes and no shelters would be fine.
    Last edited by cabbagehead; 10-01-2012 at 22:09.
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    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zcalla20 View Post
    These are all amenities I feel do not belong in a shelter, however I have spoken with other hikers that feel it is important to have some of these.

    .
    Those that believe these amenities are important are those that sit on a couch in front of a TV. As far as I'm concerned the shelters are not needed.

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