CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Hundreds of people strapped on their winter gear and made the trek up a small mountain to celebrate the grand opening of Maine Huts and Trails fourth lodge at the new Stratton Brook Hut.
The lodge and attached bunk house have the capacity to host more than forty guests, providing them with a warm place to relax, get a bite to eat and rest their head for the night, all in a spectacular mountain top setting.
"Our goal was to build a resource of national significance," explained Nicole Freedman, executive director of the non-profit Maine huts and Trails. "We are already there. We've hosted 15,000 guests from 27 countries."
Freedman says the four lodges, spaced aproximately a dozen miles apart, are attracting people from far and wide interested in exploring the area.
"For us, it is about all sports, all seasons," she said. "Anytime you come back in a different season, in a different mode, it is a whole new adventure."
The trail system and huts are designed to help stimulate the economy of Maine's western mountains, which falls off once ski season is over.
Hiking, mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking are just some of the adventures available to people visiting the area, and are also among the only modes of transportation to get to the remote lodges.
Maine Huts and Trails' ultimate goal is to build 12 lodges connected by 180 miles of trails, giving people the opportunity to spend several weeks discovering the rugged beauty of the state.