Reality show creators build cabins in Vermont woods


A screenshot of the show’s Facebook page features one of the cabins built in the woods for the show.

By Patrick McArdle

SHAFTSBURY — A team from National Geographic finished its one-week build of an outdoor camp on Tuesday for a show filmed as the pilot episode of “Building Wild.”

For George Verschoor, creator and executive producer of “Building Wild,” the show is something of a homecoming. He’s originally from the Hoosick Falls, N.Y., area and his production company is called “Hoosick Falls Productions.” Verschoor’s credits include MTV’s “The Real World” and “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” for ABC.

On Wednesday, Verschoor said he came up with the idea for “Building Wild” with Paul DiMeo, a regular cast member on “Extreme Makeover” and Will Spjut, who is an executive producer along with Verschoor on National Geographic’s “Border Wars.”
Verschoor described the new show as “building 400 square feet or under in the middle of the wilderness.”

“We’re trying to build these little cabins for people who have a love of nature and love the outdoors and love a challenge like we do. … (We want) people who not only love the outdoors but have a passion in the outdoors of some sort. It’s very common for people to have a hunting camp but we’re also looking for people who have other purposes they would use a camp for,” he said.

The series will be broadcast on the National Geographic Channel, according to Verschoor. Right now, the producers are looking for candidates for other projects to plan, build and film in Southern Vermont, with a focus on Bennington County, and nearby New York.

Verschoor estimated that future construction projects would be built in July through September and the shows would be broadcast late in 2013 or early 2014.

The projects will be simple camps, like hunting, fish or cross-country skiing camps, without electricity or running water.

The staff at “Building Wild” are hoping to hear from people who have a large amount of land on which a small, dream project can be built. Verschoor said those chosen will need to be partners in the project and can’t be shy about appearing on camera.

The first project, off of Route 7A in Shaftsbury, has already been completed for the pilot episode. Verschoor said he didn’t want to give too many details about what was built in Shaftsbury but said the landowner pitched in themselves and through friends who were willing to work with the “Building Wild” team.

“This is a very different project than ‘Extreme Makeover’ that Paul (DiMeo) and I were involved with. This is building in the wild which really causes a lot of challenges (like) logistical challenges. Mother Nature is really throwing a lot at us. Even during the past week (when) we were building, we went from freezing weather with snow-covered ground to run off and mud and thaw, knee-deep mud that we were slogging through and trying to build in it,” he said.

When the show is broadcast, audiences will find themselves going on a journey with the landowners, Verschoor said.

“There’s a great journey they go on from day one, when there’s nothing there, to the end of the week when they see this camp and it’s finished and there’s a sense of accomplishment. You feel like you just climbed Mount Everest with us,” he said.

People who believe they have the right project for the show should send an email to Verschoor said the show was looking for people who had interesting, unusual stories or ideas about which the applicant is passionate.

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