In 2018, Atlin’s first ecotourism attraction was built at the base of Sentinel Mountain by the Atlin Alpine Society. Tucked into the subalpine, this six-person cabin features a solar power system and propane fireplace to keep hikers, backcountry skiers and other recreationalists safe and comfortable.
“The cabin was inspired by the cold winter up here,” said Manuel Sidler, president of the Atlin Alpine Society. “I started building a log cabin off-site thinking I would just put it up there as a basic shelter but as it evolved more and more people saw it and got stoked on the idea so we decided that we would try and make it all official. From there one thing lead to the next and suddenly it all worked out.”
The cabin’s construction is one of the tools that the Atlin Alpine Society will use to promote environmental awareness. The group is invested in the well-being of the natural environment and played a key role in having the fragile alpine ecosystem above the cabin designated as a non-motorized zone.
“The cabin is also beneficial to Atlin’s environment because the alpine in the Burdette Valley has been designated as a non-motorized zone,” Sidler continued. “This protects the fragile ecosystem which was on the brink of being connected by a quad trail, this will help preserve this beautiful valley for future generations to enjoy.”
Drawing people to Atlin will have an economic spin-off for local businesses as recreationalists will be purchasing food, supplies, gas, accommodations, souvenirs and other goods from local businesses. The society also hopes that in the long-term, the cabin will be used by Atlinites and visitors to host educational retreats of all kinds. The income generated by the cabin will create employment opportunities for locals such as cabin maintenance, trail building and trail maintenance.
Building the cabin was a labour of love and more than 500 hours of skilled labour were donated to constructing the cabin and outhouse in a remote location. Materials were transported in by helicopter, which required seven hours of flight time.
For those not travelling by helicopter to the cabin, backcountry enthusiasts can follow an eight-kilometer trail along small sections of talus and steep slopes that enters the valley from the side and gains approximately 350 metres of elevation. A vehicle with high clearance is necessary to reach the trailhead.
Funding for the $76,504 Burdette Cabin project came from numerous sources. Northern Development pitched in $30,000 through the Community Halls and Recreation Facilities program, three companies donated skilled labour and Recreation Sites and Trails BC also provided support for the cabin.