North Country Report
from Chris Thayer, Huts Manager

Though snow still flies through the notch at this point, we here in the Huts Department at Pinkham have plans well underway for the busy upcoming summer season. Croos will continue our much successful slate of evening programs begun last summer and fall on topics ranging from nature walks to cultural history  around their huts. We will also continue our enhancement of hut meals by seeking to offer more value and consistency for our guests while mantaining the same uniqueness and flavor that have made the huts famous.
We still put a call out to all OH for photos you might have of your past croos to hang in the huts. While some huts have more or less complete sets, others are  sorely lacking in preserving the history of hard working folks like your selves. Please go through trunks and photo albums and send what you can to Chris Thayer at Pinkham.
With better meals and more educational program offerings, the Huts are poised to continue the tradition of mountain hospitality and public service that has made us famous for over 100 years. We invite you all to come and see how the Huts have expanded in their role in the ‘90’s while maintaining the character put forth by Red Mac McGregor, Joe Dodge and all of you.

Permit Renewal

The permit renewal process has reached a critical point, and we need hut users and other friends of the huts to stand up and be counted. Your letters are critical to ensure the continued operation of the Hut System.
The AMC’s permit to operate the hut system and Pinkham Notch Visitor Center on  the White Mountain National Forest was up for renewal in 1995. We are currently  pursuing renewal of that 30-year permit, and have operated on one-year permits  since that time.
Many of you wrote letters and spoke in support of the huts and AMC’s work in the White Mountains during the listening sessions last spring. Your input was invaluable in helping to draft a comprehensive Master Development Plan for our future operations. Your input is even more crucial now!
At this stage of the permit renewal process, the Forest Service has completed an Environmental Impact Statement on the hut system and related trails. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was recently released, and the Forest Service is now seeking public comment on that draft. They will then issue a final EIS following receipt and analysis of those comments.
The DEIS proposes to allow the AMC to continue operating the huts and Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and also calls for the AMC to undertake environmental monitoring and mitigation measures to ensure that impact on the environment is minimized as we continue to provide unique recreational opportunties for the thousands of visitors who come to the WMNF every year.
As part of the DEIS, the USFS also considered other alternate scenarios, including removing some or all of the huts and limiting the services we would be allowed to provide. Here’s where you can make a difference!
If you want the AMC to continue operating the hut system and PNVC in the Whites, write to the US Forest Service and say so! In your letter, it is important to note that you support the Proposed Action.
It is important that the  Forest Service hear from hut users and supporters. If you like the social interaction and camaraderie the huts provide, say so. If you feel AMC’s presence in the Whites enhances forest stewardship and benefits the environment, let them know. If you feel the AMC’s trail maintenance programs, scientific research, and educational workshops, are important  components of the hut experience, write it down. Detailed comments are very helpful.
We believe the huts provide an historically significant and environmentally responsible opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy the White Mountains, but  our ability to provide those opportunties is not assured. It is dependent upon a  successful renewal of AMC’s special use permit. That’s why you can make such an important difference by writing a note to the Forest Service. The address to send your comments is:

AMC Permit Team
White Mountain National Forest
719 North Main Street
Laconia, NH 03246

Deadline for the Forest Service’s receipt of comments is April 14th. We’d love to receive a copy of your letter. You can send yours to: Rob Burbank, Public Affairs Director, AMC, P.O. Box 298, Gorham, NH 03581. If you have any AMC-related questions about the DEIS or the permit renewal process, feel free to call Rob at (603) 466-2721, ext. 195 or ext. 193. You can reach Rob via e-mail at rburbank@amcinfo.org.
Questions for the Forest Service should be directed to Rebecca Oreskes,  project manager, at (603) 466-2713, ext. 212. If you need a copy of the DEIS, you can request one from the Forest Service at (603) 528-8721.
If you care about the huts and about the future health of the White Mountains; if you want the huts to be there for future generations to enjoy, under the watchful stewardship of the AMC, write and let your voice be counted.  Thanks, and we’ll see you on the trails!