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Aug 15 2014

Weber Hut in Summit County nears approval

 

Location of proposed Weber Hut

Location of proposed Weber Hut

It looks like the Summit Huts Association is about to add another hut to their system of backcountry getaways. The proposed new hut will be called Weber Hut since it will be located at the head of Weber Gulch on the north side of Bald Mountain around 11,500′.

When the original plan for a hut system in Summit country was developed back in the 1980s it included a hut in Weber Gulch. In recent years demand for huts has exceeded supply. During peak months the Summit Huts Association has adopted a lottery system for reservations.

Plans to approve this additional hut were first submitted to the Dillon Ranger District of the USFS nearly eight years ago. Public input to the location was solicited in 2010. So far analysis of the huts enviromental impact has focused on the affects to wildlife and off-site parking. According to Mike Zobbe, excecutive director of the non-profit association, “the access route has gone through maybe half-a-dozen versions.”

Map from USFS draft decision show location of Weber Hut with proposed trail access.

Map from USFS draft decision show location of Weber Hut with proposed trail access. Traditional N-S orientation is inverted in this map.

Although some Breckenridge locals lobbied for the hut to be downsized, the final version will sleep 14. The original plans for the hut allowed for 16-persons but the final version will sleep 14 comfortably. Some Breckenridge locals lobbied for the hut to be downsized even more, but the association couldn’t justify further reductions and make it economically sustainable. According to Zobbe, regardless of size, “it costs the same to maintain the hut.”

People who filed written comments during last year’s environmental assessment periods may file objections with the USFS until September 13th, 2014.

Assuming the building of Weber Hut is given final approval, after that the Summit Huts Association will begin the process of raising the money necessary to build the hut. When asked how much that might be Zobbe referenced the recent rebuilding of the Fowler-Hilliard hut, overseen by the 10th Mountain Division Hut system. That project cost “around 750-thousand dollars.” Historically huts have been funded by a dominant single donor plus several hundred smaller donations. Since the Summit Huts Association is a tax exempt organization, donations would be tax deductible.

Update

New Hut near Breckenridge approved
Forest Service approves backcountry skiing hut near Breckenridge

Related Posts:
USFS White River District Reports: New Hut for Summit Huts Association

Summit Daily article on proposed Weber Hut

Weber Hut nearly finished with approval process (Summit Daily article)

Reserving a Hut with 10th Mt. Division Huts Association

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