A fresh look at hut maintenance


Editor's note — A new maintenance platform is being introduced to our backcountry huts! ACC staff are beginning to revise our databases to help better maintain and sustain one of our most valuable assets.

For this article we interviewed Rick Gardiner (ACC Facilities Director) and asked him to help describe the challenges faced with the maintenance of backcountry huts, and the solutions that our new platform provides for the team.

Silver Spray Cabin, Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park

The challenge of hut maintenance

ACC huts across Canada are being put to use by thousands of users annually, which wears the cabins down from the occupants and elements. With the increase in backcountry recreationalists, additional attention from the ACC has been put towards proper maintenance and sustainability.

Silver Spray Cabin Interior

Many ACC huts are considered heritage buildings by Heritage Canada, and thus receive inspection every five years to ensure that they are all still in good shape. This doesn’t necessarily take into the account the usability for its users, and so the huts undergo annual inspection from the ACC.

Rick Gardiner at the ACC National Office

Rick Gardiner at the ACC National Office

10 Years of Data

Over the last decade Rick Gardiner (Facilities Director of the ACC National Office), identified room for improvement to the way the ACC tracks and records the maintenance done on our backcountry huts. A new maintenance management system was proposed, and now includes approximately 10 years of data that Rick has imported into the system.

Work order print-out for the Scott Duncan Hut

Mobile Updates from the Field

The new maintenance database functions on work orders that are registered from the ACC maintenance team in the field via mobile devices, which is pretty cool. The program allows multiple users, photo/video uploading, tracking, and subcategories from individual huts, enabling easy communication between our maintenance workers.

The monumental effort to import a decade’s worth of data has given us a new tool to reduce costs and increase efficiency all around. The system also allows seamless tracking and workflow to better facilitate our hut maintenance.

The work continues and full documentation of ACC huts is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Silver Spray Cabin, Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Photo: Shaun King

Help support efforts to maintain our huts today!

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ACC huts are used as bases for mountain recreation and as emergency refuges for all mountain travellers. They are an enduring symbol of the ACC and an enormous part of our club’s past, present and future. Operating and maintaining this hut system is a large undertaking physically, logistically and financially.

Your contribution to the Facilities Fund will help build new, and facilitate renovations and upkeep, to ACC huts across the country.