A public hearing on the construction of a hut near Silver Lake in the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area is set for Wednesday, June 8, at 6 p.m. in the downstairs function room of Café Provence in Brandon. The meeting is being hosted by the Moosalamoo Association and the Vermont Hut Association (VHA), the two nonprofit organizations proposing the year-round hut.
The hut will sleep up to 10 people and be available for year-round use via bookings through the Vermont Hut Association. It will include a modest propane heating stove to make winter camping more feasible.
The hut would complement VHA’s other huts as part of its statewide hut-to-hut system, which it is building out to be similar to those in Maine and New Hampshire. Its location within the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area (MNRA) is near a similar hut constructed at Chittenden Brook Campground two years ago, and others being built along the spine of the Green Mountains.
According to the Forest Service information on the project, “the hut would provide a unique four-season camping and recreation opportunity that is not otherwise available in the (MNRA). The provision of an indoor, heated facility with sleeping and cooking amenities provided would enable segments of the population currently unable to enjoy an overnight experience at Silver Lake the opportunity to do so. A similar backcountry hut design was recently approved for construction and operations at Grout Pond located in the GMNF,” in the Manchester area.
According to the VHA, its mission is “to provide an enriching and immersive outdoor experience for everyone. By collaborating with our partners in recreation, we are creating a four-season hut network across the Green Mountain State to strengthen local communities and foster a deeper appreciation of our natural environment.”
RJ Thompson, executive director of VHA, also noted that huts help increase stewardship of the land by having a weekly caretaker visit the site year around.
“The hut’s caretaker will service it weekly, and this person can also report trail maintenance needs or other issues in the vicinity of the hut,” Thompson said. “Additionally, hut guests can be notified of trail-maintenance and other volunteer days within the MNRA, providing more capacity to assist with ongoing projects throughout the MNRA.”
Thompson said VHA reaches out to underrepresented individuals to get them into the outdoors.
“It is a priority of Vermont Huts to bring members from underrepresented communities into the outdoors, free of charge. We do this by running the FOREST program out of our huts. Participants receive meals, transport, gear, professional naturalist instruction, and two nights in the hut. The Silver Lake Hut will host the FOREST program four times per year, in addition to educational programming the Moosalamoo Association would like to offer,” Thompson noted.
According to the Forest Service scoping report, the VHA mission aligns in support of the GMNF Plan’s recreational goals, desired future conditions, and the Moosalamoo area’s purposes and values. The new hut being proposed would be owned and operated by the VHA in a partnership with the Moosalamoo Association.
The public is invited to learn more about the project and to offer public comment at this June 8 hearing during a 45-day public comment period.
For those people unable to attend the meeting, it will be covered live by PEG-TV (Rutland County’s community television) and can be found on its YouTube channel at any time after the event.
For more information about VHA visit: vermonthuts.org.