The Lost Backcountry Shelters

February 13, 2015

Long before the backpacking boom of the 1960s and 1970s spurred the creation of new campsites and a caretaker program, visitors to the White Mountains built an informal series of crude backcountry shelters using bark and boughs. Lean-tos and more complex structures followed. Once upon a time, hikers camped in shelters in the Great Gulf, at Mizpah Spring, on Edmands Col, and in the Sandwich Range, among other locales. Some of these sites evolved into the campsites and shelters now used by backcountry visitors (see “Taking Care,” March/April 2015), while others disappeared, victims of the elements, abandoned for more sustainable locations, or disassembled and removed from newly designated Wilderness Areas.

Images seen here appear courtesy of the AMC Library & Archives. Duplicates can be ordered for a fee. Funds support efforts to preserve the club’s historical collections. Call 617-391-6629, visit, or e-mail for details.

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Marc Chalufour

Marc Chalufour, a former senior editor of AMC Outdoors, contributes to the trail-running blog Running Wild.