More than $13,000 has already been raised to rebuild a beloved warming hut on Whitehorse’s cross-country ski trails.
Harvey’s Hut burned to the ground Thursday afternoon and police are investigating. According to an RCMP press release, two witnesses reported seeing between three and five young children between the ages of 8 and 12 near the hut at the time of the fire.
Anyone with information is asked to call police.
Within a day of the fire, an online GoFundMe campaign to fund the hut’s reconstruction was underway.
As of this afternoon, 114 people had donated a total of $13,490.
“It really buoys me to see that,” said Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club president Bill Curtis. “It shows how important that location was to the ski community.”
Curtis said Harvey’s Hut was the closest to the ski chalet, about 2.5 kilometres away.
“Which means that a lot of the children, our young skiing community, for them it was actually a challenge to get to Harvey’s Hut.”
In its 35 years, the hut — with its wood burning stove — became a meeting place for families and friends.
“Most of us who have spend time on the Whitehorse ski trails have at least one cherished memory at Harvey’s Hut,” reads the fundraising page.
“As kids it may have been a respite from the cold, a sign of hot chocolate to come, or a great starting point for capture the flag.”
Harvey’s Hut has been vandalized in the past. The wood stove would periodically disappear and need to be replaced, Curtis said. Once someone even tried to push the hut over a cliff. But through all that it managed to stay intact.
Curtis said plans are in the works to rebuild. Conceivably it could be done this season but that’s unlikely, he said. “We want to do this right.”
The board is researching different replacement options, including looking into making the new hut fire-resistant.
In the meantime it’s looking into putting up a temporary structure like a wall tent or a yurt, he said.
“We’re looking at some options. We definitely need something there and it might be called Harvey’s Tent for a while.”
The GoFundMe campaign can be found online at www.gofundme.com/2s2xyus
Contact Ashley Joannou at firstname.lastname@example.org