The story began with a need for overnight lodging along a six-mile relocation of the Long/ Appalachian Tuail on the west side of Pico Peak. The trail was relocated in 1999 to avoid ski area development pressures. During the planning process for the new shelter, initial criteria specified locating a site away from backcountry ski routes and close to the trail. Then the city of Rutland and the National Park Service requested other criteria that changed the nature of the entire project.
The city of Rutland wanted to avoid making a shelter accessible to allterrain vehicles, creating a party spot or skier destination, because this area was part of their watershed. We quickly reached agreement on those issues. The challenge involved human waste disposal in the watershed. That meant designing a basic facility that would attract hikers passing through on the trail-people who needed a roof, water, and a privy. And Vermont law guaranteed the city the right to protect its watershed. Negotiations with the city followed. GMC Field Supervisor Pete AntosKetcham presented a case for reasonable use of the site, one that reflected the best interests of the club and the city. The resulting agreement spells out everyone’s obligations, from sewage disposal to inspections, and recognizes the city’s right to remain involved with the management and oversight of the shelter. The shelter provides a utilitarian resting spot with no view and is strategically located between Cooper Lodge and Tucker Johnson or Stony Brook Shelters. No fires are allowed.
A separate issue was access for the handicapped and physically disabled. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that “front country” sites provide handicapped access, but the status ofbackcountry sites remains unclear. National Park Service managers, however, felt another law-the Architectural Barriers Act-required that the Churchill Scott facilities, built on federal land, provide disabled access. So, the shelter design accommodates people in wheelchairs. Jeff Bostwick adjusted his privy design, replacing stairs with a ramp. Wooden grabrails were installed to assist wheelchair transfers, latching hardware allows a seated person to fasten the door, and floor space was increased to provide chair-turning radius.
Helicopter Fly and Construction
On the morning of August 22, staff and volunteers met at the Pico base lodge. One crew of eight left for the shelter site while others remained to handle the outloads. Weather-related delays and high winds made the helicopter lift uncertain for several hours, but by the end of the day, all materials to build a shelter, tent platform, and privy were at the site. Construction began early Saturday morning. The foundation was laid before noon, with walls and most of the roof added after lunch. Rain hampered some of the afternoon’s efforts, but by evening, the shelter was partially roofed, allowing some of the crew to spend the night in the new shelter. On Sunday, the crew cleared the trail to the water source and the Long Trail, installed signposts, finished the shelter, and packed out the tools and equipment.
The new shelter on Pico Peak is dedicated to W. Churchill Scott, a member of the Killington Section for nearly seventy years, and memorializes Alice Ference, a through-hiker who drowned while crossing the Kennebec River in Maine in the 1980s.
[LT News Winter 2004]