In the years since its initial 1888 investment of just over $700 to build Madison Spring Hut in the Northern Presidential Range, AMC has become an important contributor to the New Hampshire economy. A recent Plymouth State University study finds that, from June 2014 to May 2015, spending by out-of-state guests at AMC huts and lodges supported $17.9 million in economic activity in the state.
Perhaps more significantly, almost three-quarters of that economic activity benefited businesses other than AMC. In addition, spending by AMC guests supported 191 New Hampshire jobs during that same one-year period.
Looking at more localized impacts, the study shows spending by AMC guests supported $15.6 million in economic activity in New Hampshire’s Coos, Carroll, and Grafton counties alone—northern counties near AMC’s White Mountain huts and lodges. In that tri-county area, AMC guests’ spending supported 169 jobs.
The study, “Economic Impact of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Huts and Lodges in New Hampshire,” was prepared for AMC by Daniel S. Lee, of the Center for Rural Partnerships at Plymouth State University, in Plymouth, N.H.
AMC’s positive economic impact throughout the state likely is even higher, Lee notes, as the study estimated spending only by nonresident, overnight AMC guests, not that of day visitors or New Hampshire residents.
The study drew from surveys of lodge and hut guests and from AMC’s visitation data. Per-person expenditures during a trip to AMC’s New Hampshire huts and lodges averaged just under $372, the study notes.
“We are pleased to present this report on the economic impacts of AMC’s White Mountains operations on the New Hampshire economy,” says John D. Judge, AMC’s president. “Our huts and lodges offer unique opportunities for people to get out and enjoy New Hampshire’s mountains, and it is gratifying to see the positive impacts our guests and the hut system have on economic activity and jobs in the North Country and around the state.”
AMC provides meals, lodging, and educational activities for members and the public at eight backcountry huts and two roadside lodges in the White Mountains. The huts are spaced a day’s hike apart along a 56-mile-long stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
AMC and the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation are exploring the potential for a lease under which AMC would build and operate a new hut in Crawford Notch State Park, providing recreational and informational services to the public. The state is reviewing public comments on the proposal.