Board sees site plan for 1st hut

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CARRABASSETT VALLEY – Western Mountains Foundation plans to build its first hut, one of 12, proposed along a 180-mile recreation-use corridor from Bethel to Moosehead Lake region, in Carrabassett Valley.

Foundation President Larry Warren has submitted a site plan review/conditional use application to the town’s Planning Board for the proposed hut in the Poplar Stream Falls area, about 2 miles from Route 27.

The board will take up the application at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at the town office.

The hut would be 5,300 square feet, have sleeping quarters for about 42 guests and four staff members, and would have a kitchen and other amenities, Warren said Monday.

The hut will be inaccessible by vehicle, Warren said, but it would be accessible to hikers, cross-country skiers, mountain bikers, canoeists, kayakers and others traveling along the trails and waterway corridors in the area.

It would cost about $600,000 to build the first hut and trails associated with it, Warren said. The whole project is expected to cost about $11 million, he said.

The foundation is a nonprofit corporation organized to operate Maine Huts & Trails by constructing a network of shelters and trails, according to a news release on the organization’s Web site.

The network is intended to preserve and provide access to some of the “best back country terrain” in western Maine. The foundation recently bought six miles of riverfront property between Spencer Stream and Enchanted Stream on the Dead River. The parcel was purchased from GMO Renewable Resources and totals approximately 530 acres along the western shore of the Dead River between Flagstaff and The Forks.

Phase I of the project calls for acquiring the northern 100 miles of trail and construction of three huts.

As of February, Maine Huts & Trails had purchased or acquired rights to 58 miles of trail and expects to complete a number of transactions in 2006 with an objective of breaking ground for the first hut within the year.

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