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When the Appalachian Mountain Club decided to erect a mountain hut at Madison Spring in 1888, club officials called it “the most considerable single undertaking on which the Club has yet ventured.” Construction ran over budget, with a final cost of $739.50, but by February 1889 the structure was ready for its first overnight guests….

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Allen Chamberlain was a man of focused passion, fighting—on several fronts—for the protection of forests across the United States. Chamberlain joined AMC in 1897, and by 1900 had revamped the organization’s Department of Exploration. As councillor, he renamed it the Department of Exploration and Forestry, positioning AMC to better engage in the effort to protect…

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AMC Woodlot

December 20, 2010

In the winter of 1917-1918, as the demands of World War I led to the near exhaustion of Boston’s coal supplies, AMC members did their part by cutting wood to sell, first on a lot in Lincoln, Mass., and then in West Roxbury, Mass. By spring they had formed the Cut-a-Cord Committee, which in turn…

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In AMC’s early years, as the organization was just beginning its efforts to protect New Hampshire’s White Mountains, members were also exploring Maine’s remote 100-Mile Wilderness. The Penobscot had bestowed the name “Katahdin,” meaning “greatest mountain,” on the region’s most spectacular peak, but Maine’s highest summit (5,267 feet) remained largely ignored well into the 19th…

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Writing for the June 1947 edition of Appalachia, John Hurd, a former chairman of the Special Canoe Committee, reflected on the early years of paddling in the AMC. “From one trip a year for men only, to a spring program of a dozen runs for novices as well as experts, an interesting growth in the…

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As the 2010 Winter Olympic Games unfold in Vancouver this February, a worldwide television audience of millions will be introduced to the latest generation of alpine skiing stars. Though these daredevils will be accelerating faster and turning more sharply than any skiers before them, they owe a debt of gratitude to their 20th-century predecessors. One…

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“Fire is the greatest enemy of the forest,” read a 1941 U.S. Forest Service pamphlet, that addressed the sharp increase in forest fires that accompanied the logging boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By the time the federal government surveyed the land that would, in 1918, become the White Mountain National Forest…

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In the closing years of the 19th century, annual reports from AMC’s Councillors of Natural History included increasingly frequent mentions of botany collections. “Sufficient space beneath one of the library cases in the Club-room has been appropriated for the Herbarium,” wrote Warren Upham in 1892. “[The collection] now contains a nearly complete set of the…

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AMC member Sinclair Kennedy photographed these tandem paddlers easing themselves through a maze of boulders on the Ammonoosuc River in 1910. (Aptly enough, the waterway’s name stems from an American Indian word meaning “narrow fishing place.”) Though the identities of the outdoorsmen are unknown, there’s a good chance fellow canoe enthusiast John W. Worthington joined…

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On January 26, 1906, 10 AMC members departed the Mount Madison House, an inn in Gorham, N.H., to climb Mount Madison. The first recorded winter summit of the peak had been achieved only 17 years earlier by Rosewell Lawrence and Laban Watson. Two from the 1906 party ascended via the Durand Ridge while the remaining…

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