Harvey Hut burnt down for the third time

Fundraising starts to rebuilt hut consumed by Lodgepole fire

The Harvey Hut has really bad luck.

Once again, the back country shelter, which was almost finished being rebuilt after arsonists burned it down last year, has been burned down again.

“It was nearly ready for the upcoming winter season,” said Ryland Nelson, with the Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club. “This was the fourth hut at that site.”

Over the past 30 years, the Harvey Hut, on the Lodgepole Forest Service road has been used by generations of back country enthusiasts.

The remote structure has been subject to a number of fire incidents over the years.

The first Harvey Hut was burnt down decades ago by a forestry company, and was subsequently replaced with a flame resistant structure.

It lasted until it nearly collapsed, and was replaced by another building, which wasn’t fireproof.

In the 2015/16 ski season, the hut was set ablaze by arsonists, mere days before the Fernie Trails and Ski Touring Club got a legal permit for the building through the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.

“A lot of people put a lot of effort into this,” said Nelson, explaining that a great number of volunteers were involved in the rebuild.

“There was about $30,000 in hard cost that went up in smoke,” he said. “Massive amounts of people were involved in making this a reality and will continue to do so.”

The remote shelter is used by a number of groups for snowmobiling, skiing and other nordic sports.

“It’s also an emergency shelter,” said Nelson. “You’re a solid 20 km on snowmobile to access this area.”

He says that the fundraising goal to replace the hut is around $30,000. The group has raised nearly $1,000 to date and is receiving $5,000 from their insurance company.

“We’ll rebuild,” said Nelson, who estimates it will take a year to complete.