The TUNA Yurt

The Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA) has operated a yurt in the Uintah National Forest for over twenty years under a permit issued by the Kamas Ranger District. TUNA was the original permitee in this national forest. The Forest Service has allows TUNA to keep the yurt up, all year round and on a permanent platform. Thus the yurt can be used year-round for such activities as hiking, camping, mountain biking, horse packing, skiing, etc.

The original TUNA yurt was located in the North Fork. In 1999 the yurt was moved to its current location along the Norway Flats road, approximately 11 miles north out of Kamas on the Mirror Lake Highway. The yurt overlooks a spectacular view of Boulder Creek with its beaver ponds, summer trails and excellent ski slopes (slopes range in the 30-35 degree range). A wonderful place to spend time ski touring, turning, adventuring and enjoying the backcountry.

YURT Certification Classes

All yurt users must be certified in how to safely use the TUNA yurt. The certification requirement will be wavied for all persons who have used the yurt in the last three years or have participated in a yurt maintenance party and are familiar with the required maintenance and safe operation of the yurt. If you have not used the yurt and are not familiar how to get to the yurt or where the yurt is located, you will be required to participate in a certification before you will be allowed to rent the yurt. Yurt certifications are held in the late Fall/early Winter, and occasionally mid-winter depending on need and availability of TUNA members to lead the class. To find out more about certification dates send mail to Dave Staub at yurt [at] utahnordic [dot] com.

Yurt Work Parties Work parties for yurt maintenance are scheduled, as needed, during the calendar year, usually during the late Summer/early Fall. If you want to volunteer to work on the yurt, please contact yurt [at] utahnordic [dot] com or visit the TUNA website. Work trip participants receive discounts on yurt rental fees and priority in making yurt reservations. Work trip participants must be active TUNA members.

Location/Access

The TUNA Yurt is located in Norway Flats, in the Western Uinta Mountains. The Norway Flats trailhead is 10.5 miles up the Mirror Lake Highway from Kamas; approximately 30 minutes from Park City or 1 hour from Salt Lake. The ski in to the Yurt is approximately 3.5 miles, with an elevation gain of 1000 vertical feet. The trip can usually be made in about 2-3 hours, although factors such as deep snow and heavy loads may require more time. The yurt is regularly used by families with children.

Skiing/Snowshoeing Opportunities

The Yurt sits at an elevation of 8600 feet, and is located on a flat bench surrounded by mature aspen and pines. It overlooks Boulder Creek and several small ponds. There is excellent ski terrain below and to the East of the yurt, with 300 to 400 foot vertical slopes ranging from 30 to 35 degrees only minutes away. More extensive turning opportunities are abundant in the area above the yurt. Moderate touring/snowshoeing is also abundant in the Norway Flats area, as well as more moderate glade skiing.

TUNA Yurt Manager Needed

TUNA is in need of an important volunteer position, The Yurt Manager. Below is a list of duties and estimated time commitment. Gregory Adams the last Yurt Manager could answer any questions about the position:  gadams [at] crai [dot] com  Contact Tom Bonacci if you are interested in the position tom [at] bonacci [dot] net

Yurt management tasks:

1. Regularly attend monthly TUNA Board meetings.  Prepare annual budget for yurt program, keep Board updated on yurt operations.  Time commitment: 2-3 hours monthly.

2. Coordinate with Forest Service.  Prepare annual user summary, prepare permit renewals (every 3-5 years), respond to Forest Service information requests.  Time commitment: 3-5 hours annually.

3. Organize annual yurt work trip.  Recruit work trip participants, obtain required tools and maintenance supplies, oversee work trip.  Time commitment: 2-3 hours annually for organization, and one day for the work trip.

4. Reservation scheduling and management.  Maintain yurt reservation calendar, respond to yurt scheduling requests, follow up with yurt users regarding payment and submission of liability waivers, answer questions of yurt users.  Time commitment: 3-5 hours weekly; Fall through end of winter.  This work is almost all sending and responding to emails.  It is the most consistently time consuming task of yurt management.  Good organizational skills are important. (TUNA has a coordinator who is helping with the reservations at this time). 

5. Conduct new user yurt orientations.  These typically consist of a day trip to the yurt. Time commitment: 2-3 hours annually for organization, and 1 – 2 days for the orientation trip (depending on how many orientation trips are done).

6. Conduct in-season maintenance as needed.  Time commitment: varies but typically there is not much required in season maintenance.  Maybe 1 day.

7. Supervise permitting and construction of the new yurt.  This task is underway (thanks Mark and Kirk!).  It is a one time task, but likely to be time consuming this summer and Fall.  In addition to the permitting issues, required tasks will be ordering and specing the new yurt, arranging to delivery and storage, ad organizing work parties to construct the new yurt.  I would expect the construction to require several weekends of work, but that is an uneducated guess.
 
Tasks 3 – 7 can be delegated, although the yurt khan would be expected to organize and supervise the delegation.  Task 4 is the most demanding.  It is not a lot of work at any one time, but there is a consistent (often daily) requirement of a few minutes to (say) 30 minutes to stay caught up. (There is a coordinator who is currently helping with 4). 

Amenities

The TUNA yurt is 18 feet in diameter with a covered deck/storage area. It can comfortably sleep 8 (the maximum size party allowed). It is equipped with 8 bunks, a wood stove and a supply of cut and split wood, a propane cooking stove and lamps, and cooking equipment (pots and utensils). There is a year round spring 100 feet from the yurt.

Rates and Reservations