Jericho Warming Hut Winter 2011 Visitor Report
Visitor Summary for Winter 2011-2012
June 5, 2012
BERLIN — The Jericho Warming Hut opened its doors to visitors on December 3, 2011 and in spite of a marginal winter, was visited by over 700 people from 12 different states and 6 different countries. Those statistics are based solely on the signatures in the guest book and so the actual number of visitors could easily be double or triple this number, because not everyone who visits the Warming Hut signs in. Out of the 700 visitors, only 137 were from the City of Berlin and the towns of Gorham and Milan. That means the majority of visitors are coming from somewhere other than the bordering towns.
Twenty seven pages of signatures were reviewed and the visitation date and zip code for each city and state were entered into a spreadsheet. This zip data was used to create the "Visitors by State" chart shown below, but it will also be used to generate other reports like distance traveled to the Warming Hut and visitors by week, etc.
"There are going to be lot of people interested in this data" said Larry Gomes, Assistant Trail Master for the White Mt. Ridge Runners, who led the effort to build the Warming Hut last summer. "People have said that Jericho Mountain State Park would bring in a lot of people in from outside the area, but this is tangible proof that can be used by the city and the State to justify further investments in the park".
"The idea for putting a guest book into the Warming Hut actually came from our grant application to the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund" said Gomes. "We had to institute some sort of tracking mechanism to report back to the Tillotson Fund administrators on the outcome of the grant. One of the tracking mechanisms we agreed to provide is a list of cities and towns where people came from".
Another section of the guest book solicits comments. In scanning through the 27 pages, there is not one negative comment. The words "awesome", "great", "gorgeous", "beautiful" and "nice view" appear most often. But there are also some unique comments like "Lot of pride you guys put into it - nice enough to live in" from a visitor in Hudson, NH and "Fan-bloody-tastic" from a visitor who came all the way from Greenwith, South Australia.
Ground was broken on the hut on June 15, 2011 and the building exterior was completed on September 25th. The Warming Hut opened for visitors on December 3rd and the final interior work was completed on December 19, 2011. The Warming Hut remained open all winter and closed on March 20th for mud season. The hut reopened for visitors when Jericho Mountain State Park re-opened on May 11, 2012.
Since the spring reopening, hundreds of ATV riders have already signed the guest book and so the club expects the summer season to set new records for visitor counts.
The funding campaign for the project is ongoing with a 150 Founders committed out of a total of 200 Founders needed. Each Founder pledges $100 to have a permanent plaque with their name or message inscribed on it mounted inside the Warming Hut.
Additional grant funding came from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund along with donations from many local corporations. All of the labor to build the Warming Hut was provided by volunteers.
To see pictures of the Warming Hut being built, please visit the project website at www.jerichowarminghut.com and look under the "News" tab.