University of Idaho Students Create a Winter Hut for the National Forest Foundation

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This warming hut has been created as part of the University of Idaho’s Design-Build program. The hut is located in the Mouse Creek area, north of Sandpoint, Idaho.



The building is set among the forested landscape, where it will act as a refuge for skiers, snowmobilers, and snowshowers, offering them a chance to warm up before venturing back out into the cold.



The building covers an area of 800-square-feet (74.32-square-meters). The project has been descriptively titled “Mouse Creek Warming Hut” and was completed in 2016.


The works were commissioned by the National Forest Foundation (NFF), along with Idaho Panhandle National Forest and the Sandpoint Range District Idaho Forest Group.


The design and construction of the building itself was a collaborative effort between the university students and professionals. The process from concept to design and construction took about a year.

The warming hut is a testament to what can be achieved through partnerships. It is exciting that so many people and organizations contributed to making it a reality. – Karen DiBari, NFF


The hut is intended to be used as a safe haven during snowstorms, a recreational place for gatherings of friends and family, and a base camp for search and rescue parties.

The hut will be a resource to families recreating on their backyard national forest lands for years to come. – Karen DiBari, NFF

The building is equipped with a wood-burning stove, as well as parking for snow mobiles. It’s constructed with locally supplied lumber. Given the nature of the project, much of the materials, expertise, and labor was donated.


Photos © Woods Wheatcroft

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.