updated 5/31/2011 1:46:26 PM ET 2011-05-31T17:46:26

RANDOLPH, N.H., May 31, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Appalachian Mountain Club's (AMC) Madison Spring Hut, the oldest continuously operating mountain hut in the U.S., reopens June 2 following an extensive renovation that improves its comfort and "green" features. Perched at an elevation of 4,825 feet in New Hampshire's Presidential Range, Madison Spring Hut has evolved significantly since opening as a basic hiker shelter in 1889. Today's guests are greeted by knowledgeable hut "croo" serving up freshly prepared meals, as well as evening naturalist programs, trail information, and weather reports. All eight AMC huts are operated "off the grid" using renewable energy and sustainable practices that reduce environmental impact. 

Also this summer, AMC officially recognizes "hut bagging" through the publication of its new book, Passport to AMC's High Huts in the White Mountains, by Ty Wivell. This small, easy-to-carry book commemorates each hut stay with a page to stamp the hut's name, elevation, and date visited. As special recognition for bagging all eight huts, the crew will award AMC's limited edition High Hut Patch with the final stamp. AMC's higher elevation huts are also ideal for peak bagging many of the White Mountain 4,000 footers while hut-to-hut hiking.

Passport to AMC's High Huts includes an overview of the hut system's history, along with the geology and weather of New Hampshire's White Mountains region. A chapter for each hut describes its location, layout, construction, and use of alternative energy, plus recommended hikes and natural features nearby the hut. Also included is an insider's guide to the crew's "High Hut Speak," unique slang that includes the long-standing nicknames "Chez Belle" and "Madhaus" for Madison Spring Hut.

Madison Spring Hut now offers new and returning hikers more comfortable guest spaces, including bunks redesigned for easier access and improved gear storage. A new cathedral ceiling and larger windows in the dining room add lots of natural light and offer expansive views of the surrounding summits. Guests can also relax outside on the hut's new stone patio. Behind the scenes, upgrades to energy and mechanical systems include more environmentally advanced waterless toilets and more efficient solar photovoltaic panels for electric power, plus new solar thermal collectors to pre-heat water for cooking and washing dishes.

Various versions of Madison Spring Hut have occupied the same site in New Hampshire's Presidential Range throughout the hut's storied history. The recent rebuild preserves the 1929 core of the hut, including the stone walls and foundation, which were all that remained following a 1940 fire that destroyed the hut and led to the last rebuild.

LDa Architecture & Interiors, LLP of Cambridge, Massachusetts developed the project design, which complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

AMC huts in the White Mountain National Forest are operated under a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service. AMC's Lonesome Lake Hut is operated in partnership with the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation.

Rates and reservations

Book online at www.outdoors.org/whitemountains or call (603) 466-2727. Full-service nightly hut rates start at $101 per adult for non-members, $91 for teens, and $54 for children ages 3-12. Discounted rates are available for AMC members and extended stay three-night and five-night stays. All rates are plus taxes and include bunkroom accommodations, dinner, breakfast, and evening naturalist programs.

AMC's Hiker Shuttle connects popular trailheads serving the AMC hut network to AMC roadside lodges, Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch and Highland Lodge in Crawford Notch, as well as Gorham, Lincoln, and North Conway, New Hampshire. New shuttle stops this summer also connect with Concord Coach Lines bus service, enabling car-free hiking vacations from Boston and southern New Hampshire.

Passport to AMC'S High Huts is $9.95 and available through bookstores and outdoor retailers, or directly from AMC at www.outdoors.org/amcstore .

Laura Hurley, AMC Public Relations Associate Director
617-391-6621
lhurley@outdoors.org

Rob Burbank, AMC Director of Media and Public Affairs
603-466-8155
rburbank@outdoors.org

Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club is America's oldest conservation and recreation organization. With more than 100,000 members, advocates, and supporters in the Northeast and beyond, the nonprofit AMC promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of the Appalachian region. The AMC supports natural resource conservation while encouraging responsible recreation, based on the philosophy that successful, long-term conservation depends upon first-hand enjoyment of the natural environment.  

Note to editors: historical hut photos and other media kit materials are available at www.outdoors.org/about/newsroom/madison-reopen.cfm .

This information was brought to you by Cision http://www.cisionwire.com

http://www.cisionwire.com/appalachian-mountain-club/r/appalachian-mountain-club-reopens-nation-s-oldest-mountain-hut-on-june-2,g9128557

The following pictures are available for download:

[Image] Madison Spring Hut renovations time-lapse video
[Image] AMC Huts video tour
[Image] Madison Spring Hut, post 1907
[Image] Madison Spring Hut, 1987
[Image] Madison Spring Hut, 2008
[Image] Madison Spring Hut, 2011

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