After 11 Years of Successful Operations,
Maine Huts & Trails Faces a Financial Shortfall
Shortfall jeopardizes its ability to open lodges, groom trails this winter
KINGFIELD, Maine - Today, Maine Huts & Trails, a Kingfield-based nonprofit organization with a New England-wide following, announced that it faces a financial shortfall, threatening its ability to open its lodges and groom its trail network in the coming winter season. The organization is considering several fallback options, including opening its huts for self-service staffed by volunteers. This alternative enables Maine Huts & Trails to continue offering its trails and lodges to the public and continue a major fundraising effort.
Maine Huts & Trails' winter closure would impact more than its huts, including 50 miles of lost cross-country skiing and fat biking, thousands of visitors not coming to western Maine, and hundreds of school children missing out on transformative experiences in nature. In its 11-year history, the organization has created a resource that has earned national recognition and attracted 78,000 overnight visits from 48 states and 18 countries, while stimulating environmentally sensitive development in the region. Maine Huts & Trails has had an estimated $50 million economic impact largely in Somerset and Franklin counties. With a nearly $1 million payroll offering 50 full and part-time jobs, each year the organization spends more than $400,000 locally and with small Maine businesses for food, services and supplies.
While achieving its mission goals, Maine Huts & Trails has not generated sufficient lodging revenues and annual giving to cover costs, which, after ten years, include refurbishment and replacement of key assets. To address the financial shortfall, the organization needs to raise a minimum of $500,000 to open for the winter. Ultimately, Maine Huts & Trails needs to raise more than $1 million to pursue its strategic plan to restructure its financial model for long-term sustainability. Donations may be made at mainehuts.org.
"Despite the tireless efforts of many hard-working people, our current model is not producing adequate revenues to fund the organization over the long term," said Bob Peixotto, chairman of the organization's Board of Directors. "We are hopeful we will secure the resources for winter and that our restructuring plan will ensure Maine Huts & Trails experiences will be here for generations of adventurers to enjoy. A pause in operations would mark lost opportunities for the people we employ and serve, the community and the region, as well as a loss of momentum that will be difficult to recapture. We are proud of our 11-year record of past successes, having provided a very special place for so many positive outdoor experiences."
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