After years of users of backcountry huts in B.C.'s Glacier National Park assuming that the Alpine Club of Canada was responsible for the running of Asulkan Hut in Rogers Pass, the ACC has formally taken over operation of the high mountain cabin.
The ACC and Parks Canada recently finalized a licence of occupation agreement formally designating the ACC as being responsible for the operational needs of Asulkan and Glacier Circle huts and the basic four- to six-person high alpine Sapphire Col shelter.
"We're pretty excited, particularly with the Asulkan Hut, which complements the Wheeler Hut," said ACC executive director Lawrence White. "And less on a user-base, but more from a historical perspective, we're really excited about taking over the operation of Glacier Circle Hut, since it's a recognized historical building. We're quite honoured they would trust us with a recognized heritage building like Glacier Circle."
Constructed circa 1920, the log cabin Glacier Circle Hut was built for the use of Canadian Pacific Railway's Swiss mountain guides to access the towering peaks surrounding it, a long day's travel southward from Rogers Pass across the massive Illecillewaet Névé. First rehabilitated in the 1970s in an effort spearheaded by industrious mountain-lover and honorary ACC member William Putman, more recently the hut was rebuilt in 2006 by a team of volunteers from the Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, Parks Canada and the ACC, who gave the aging cabin a new lease on life with a new roof and solidly supported floor, making the building worthy of its Federal Heritage Building designation.
While Parks Canada will maintain ownership of all three huts, the ACC is now responsible for all operations of the backcountry shelters, including regular servicing and improvements, as well as taking reservations - which the ACC had already been doing for Asulkan Hut for the past decade and which helped engender the formal agreement.
"This arrangement happened almost through public misconception, since the ACC had been taking bookings for Asulkan for years, people just assumed it was an ACC hut," White said. "It got to the point where it seemed like it was the next logical step."
White said the ACC looks forward to looking after the operational needs of the huts to bring them to the standard of comfort of the ACC's other huts, starting with upgrading the foamie sleeping pads, cutlery, dishes and stove at the well-used Asulkan Hut, which sleeps 12 and is particularly busy with ski tourers accessing the phenomenal terrain and deep snow of Rogers Pass throughout the winters.
"The club is well positioned to give the attention these facilities require," White said. "And we're looking forward to working with the Friends of Revelstoke/Glacier parks, since they've been so integral to the restoration of Glacier Circle Hut. We look forward to working with them more to promote the values of the park."
Bookings for all ACC huts are taken through the ACC's Canmore based office. For more info visit www.alpineclubofcanada.ca