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More Lodges in Our Section (1/06)

The Burlington Section of the Green Mountain Club is responsible for four overnight lodges, two shelters, and one tenting area. (Lodges are large enclosed buildings made of logs and situated in heavy-use areas. Shelters are three-sided lean-tos with open fronts. There are also camps on the Long Trail, which are similar to lodges but are smaller and made of boards.) In the October issue, we shared some of the history of Taft Lodge and Taylor Lodge. Here are some tidbits about other places you can head for overnight or maybe just for lunch.

Butler Lodge is on the Underhill side of Mt. Mansfield, accessible from a trailhead at the end of Stevensville Road. The Lodge was built in 1933 by the Long Trail Patrol and was named after a Burlington Section hiker named Mabel Taylor Butler. It’s a log cabin nestled among huge rock ledges, with stone steps leading to a sturdy door, sleeping platforms, and glazed windows. Old-time hikers remember sweeping views from the rocks in front of the Lodge, but over the decades the trees have grown up and obscured the vista. Butler Lodge underwent significant repairs and renovation in 2000. The roof was propped up as volunteers replaced rotting sills and rebuilt the floor and walls. Windows were repaired, and the windowsills got a fresh coat of red paint. For the last several years, Butler Lodge has been the site of the Annual Winter Solstice Hike.

Duck Brook Shelter is on the Long Trail north of Jonesville. It’s an open lean-to that was built in 1966 by the Long Trail Patrol.

Puffer Shelter (originally Puffer Camp) is on the Long Trail near Bolton Mountain. The original camp was completed in 1954 but burned in 1974. After the fire, over a hundred Burlington Section members put up a three-sided log structure, completing the entire construction in 24 hours. More hard work closed in the Shelter a few years later. Puffer Shelter is named after Professor Louis B. Puffer who had been an active GMC member and one-time president.

Buchanan Lodge, north of Bolton Notch, is a relatively new overnight site. It was built in 1984 and named for Professor Roy Buchanan, the founder of the Long Trail Patrol (the Green Mountain Club’s professional trail crew). Buchanan Lodge has an open porch and an enclosed bunkroom with space for sixteen.

The tent platforms at the Twin Brooks Tenting Area provide the best tenting opportunity on the Long Trail in the Mt. Mansfield region. The platforms were put up in 1996 and then redesigned the next year to accommodate larger groups.

It’s not easy being a Long Trail lodge or shelter!

For the first several decades of the Long Trail’s history, porcupines were a constant threat. They loved the taste of salt so much that they’d eat right through any piece of wood that tasted of sweat. Sleeping platforms, eating tables, support beams and stairs were destroyed by the critters. Porkies particularly liked outhouse seats, a fact that more than one unfortunate hiker discovered during a late night trip to the privy. Hikers were urged to kill any porcupines they saw. One shelter caretaker remembers killing a dozen porcupines during his first week of the caretaking season. A man who owned a lot of land on Bolton Mountain offered a bounty of fifty cents per dead porky; hikers could collect by showing him the ears.

Fire has also been a significant danger. Most enclosed overnight sites were originally equipped with wood stoves. When the lodges burned down – and they did frequently – the stoves were usually replaced.  (Butler Lodge’s last stove was hauled up the mountain on a plastic shed in 1977.) Almost 30 GMC shelters have burned down over the years. Now, wood stoves have been removed from almost all of them.

Ever wonder who takes care of overnight sites?

Every one of the Long Trail’s shelters, lodges and tenting areas has a volunteer “adopter”. Adopters regularly check on the condition of their sites and do basic maintenance. They can also organize a volunteer crew if needed. Adopters fill out adopter reports to keep the GMC’s field coordinator up-to-date about work that’s been done and about any major repairs that might require a professional crew.

Right now, we need Adopters for Taylor Lodge and Butler Lodge!


  • membership in the Burlington Section of the GMC
  • affinity for the care of the Lodge and the GMC
  • willingness to visit Lodge on periodic basis
  • ability to assess and inventory necessary repairs
  • basic knowledge of carpentry, lodge construction and maintenance)
  • willingness to complete adopter reports

Contact John Connell or Linda Evans, Adopter Co-Chairs - 899 2375 or