In 1911 the Green Mountain Club (GMC) began blazing the Long Trail, the first long-distance hiking trail in the United States, which eventually extended 265 miles from Massachusetts to Canada (in 1930) along the spine of the Green Mountains. To accommodate overnight use, volunteers spent the next decade erecting fourteen unheated shelters to supplement twenty-six existing cabins along the route. Although all of the original shelters have been replaced, some shelters similar in rustic appearance still exist from a group built in the 1930s by the Long Trail Patrol under the direction of staff member Roy O. Buchanan. The Mabel Taylor Butler Lodge, named in memory of a well-loved Burlington GMC member, is the best surviving example. Typical in its small, 20 × 14–foot, gabled form, it has log walls and a half story of smaller vertical logs, exposed rafters, and paired casement windows. Initially, the Long Trail's hikers coexisted with alpine skiers, who earned a downhill run by hiking up the mountain. Once ski lifts replaced the hike and resorts developed on the mountains, conflicts arose over rerouting of the trail. Despite the ski development, today the Mount Mansfield section of the trail, one of the first sections completed, is a good place to understand how hiking evolved into a major recreational activity in Vermont, and Butler Lodge provides one of the last authentic links to the rustic aesthetic of its founders.
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Mabel Taylor Butler Lodge
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