A call for volunteers for a Nancy Greene hut crew is going out through Rossland.
This is the second year that Les Carter has asked for volunteers to help keep the huts stocked with fire wood and in usable shape.
Carter, who is also a director of the Friends of the Rossland Range, said there’s quite a long history to the huts.
“Years and years ago, Booty Griffiths ran a ski shop in Rossland,” Carter says. “He was a great ski racer and worked as a ski boot company rep. He was a general hell raiser. Booty built years ago a little pole and tarp shack. It wasn’t far out of town, but at the time there wasn’t much beyond the Red Mountain base.”
It was called Booty’s cabin. The community used to ski out to Booty’s cabin for lunch.
The Forest Service considered the hut illegal because it didn’t have a permit of any kind and was on Crown land and so were going to burn it down. But the whole community got incensed and a some people went down and picketed in front of the Forest Service’s office.
The Forest Service agreed to let it stand under the conditions that it was public and couldn’t be called Booty’s cabin.
Griffiths didn’t like that, so he and his buddies went out and built another 10 cabins.
“That’s how the cabins developed in the past,” Carter said. “A bit of an outlaw feeling to them. Over the years they have kind of become part of the community scene. They’re scattered, about a dozen of them, around the Nancy Greene Pass area.”
He said one of the great games in the winter is to see how many of the huts you can visit in a day. The huts are just for day use and are designed to be temporary.
“They’re not permanent, they’re not on foundations, they’re not built out of great stuff,” he added. “Over the years we’ve developed a bit of a practice of putting a decent roof on. They are mostly A-frames and a lot of the roofs are getting converted over to recycled aluminum.”
The huts have become popular, with tourists coming from out-of-country to experience them.
Carter said there needs to be some sort of handover to the new generation, so he thought to put together an informal group called the Hut Crew.
“If the hut needs some work, we’ll go and do it. If it needs some firewood, we’ll go and do it,” he said. “There has been an issue over whether they’re illegal or not. I’ve finally decided to take a stand. They don’t need to be permanent, they’re not tenured, but they’re not illegal either.”
He said the only entity that cares whether the huts are there or not is Atco and they have a wonderfully co-operative relationship with the hut people.
“We’ve had a long standing agreement with Atco Forestry Products, that these huts are not permanent. If somebody builds one on a place where Atco needs to build a road, then the road will go there.”
But, he added, Atco is a very positive part of those huts.
The hut crew is unofficial, but a lot of the members on it are new.
“People are complaining about the huts not being looked after, but all they’re doing is complaining,” he said, explaining that’s why he put together the crew.
For more info, call Carter at 362-5677.