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27 Jan 2004 at 1:54 pm #12340shaneGuest
Just a reminder that submissions on the DOC document
“Towards a better network of visitor facilities – Wellington Conservancy proposal summary september 2003”
closes on 31 January
There are a number of hut and track removals and additions being proposed.
You can make on -line submissions online:
(support of Dorset Ridge Hut’s existence might be a good suggestion29 Jan 2004 at 10:18 am #16502WayneGuest
Attached is a copy of a draft submission from the club to DoC (its still work in progress – any comments – please put on this noticeboard). THere are a few gaps – any views welcome
Wellington Tramping and Mountaineering Club
PO Box 5068
26 January 2004
Dept of Conservation
Comments on the DoC Recreational Facilities Review
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Dept of Conservation Recreational Facilities Review. The comments we provide below cover all 13 conservancies across the country and have been made following consultation with our 450 members.
While we have endeavored to look at all of the proposals in each conservancy we have found that this has been difficult owing to the large number of huts (over 900) and other facilities that DoC manages. We have tried to provide comments on the main areas of interest to club members.
If we do not provide comments below on some facilities that are proposed for removal or the addition or modification of other facilities, it should not be implied that we automatically agree with what is proposed by DoC. Where we do have any disagreements with what is proposed by DoC these are outlined below. However, it is possible that due to the sheer number of additions/alterations/removals proposed that we may have missed something that we should have provided comment on. Despite this however we support with the consultation process and are generally in agreement with what is proposed (with the exception of some instances outlined below).
Rather than send 13 separate letters to each conservancy, all our comments are contained in this letter which will be forwarded to all conservancies.
Members were positive about the proposed 2 new huts in the Kauri Forests. It is good to see some overnight facilities being provided in this area of national importance. We support these proposed 2 new huts
The track out to Cape Brett is also very spectacular. We support the idea of a hut being provided on this track at Deep Water Cove.
We received a number of positive comments about the proposal to establish 4 huts on the Great Barrier Island and how this would allow a 2-5 day tramping trip. We support this proposal.
The proposal to provide improved mountain bike access in Pureora forest is a good idea. Improving access and facilities is likely to lead to greater use of this area by club members (club use of this area by club members is presently low).
We are also supportive of the initiatives that will be undertaken to support the Te Araroa pathway from Cape Reinga to the Bluff.
A number of members provided comments that they support the present fuel to Omarau and Waipakihi huts being withdrawn. The provision of fuel at present seems to be an anomaly. We don?t consider that putting up hut fees and maintaining fuel supplies is the correct answer. We think the fuel supply should be withdrawn and hut fees remain constant. All our tramping parties take cookers with them so provision of hut cookers is not required. It is also doubtful that there would be many parties who would use this hut without having their own cookers with them. Providing fuel to this hut is not a good use of hut fee revenue.
Ketetahi Hut is described as being in ‘poor condition’ (we disagree) and the document mentions that you are looking at options including relocation. Certainly there is an issue that the majority of users of the hut are day trippers who are not contributing to the cost of the hut from hut fees. Maybe the answer is to keep the hut, but maybe convert it to a shelter (without fuel supplies) and if a new hut is provided that it be at a higher altitude (perhaps around Blue Lake).
Dome Emergency Shelter. We don?t support downsizing this shelter at present. If the shelter is still functional there is no reason to spend money removing this facility. There are also considerable merits in maintaining an emergency shelter near the Crater Lake (eg if the seven soldiers who lost their lives up there several years ago had made it to the shelter or had stayed in their snow trench there wouldn?t have been such a disaster). If DoC is going to remove this shelter, a better option would be to wait until another eruption takes place or the shelter needs major structural work.
The new campsite at Whakaipo on Lake Taupo is a good idea. There are not enough camping sites provided on Lake Taupo. We are not entirely sure where this site is, but it is likely it would be used by club trips doing overnight kayaking trips on the lake.
Bay of Plenty conservancy:
Mt Tarawera road ? The proposals note that DoC is at present maintaining this road (so the tour operator can use it to take people up Mt Tarawera). The current level of charging by the operator is excessive, and the mountain is now out of the reach of most New Zealanders. We therefore do not support taxpayers money being spent on the maintenance of a road that is only really being used to allow access for a minority group (presumably wealthy overseas tourists). The present maintenance of this road acts like a subsidy to this tourist operator. We are opposed to this road continuing to being maintained by the Dept of Conservation. If it is to be maintained then the tourist operator should pay for it in full.
The proposal to provide new mountain bike opportunities in Whirinaki forest is a good idea.
East Coast/Hawkes Bay Conservancy:
We agree with the need to rationalise some of the road end huts in the southern Ruahines. Many of these huts don?t seem to serve any substantial practical purpose. Sure if DoC had unlimited amounts of funding it would be good to retain them but there isn?t so we support the proposed removal of these huts.
Would be good to have circular track in the Whanganui National Park ? could one be considered?
We are appreciative of the close working relationship that exists between our club and DoC in respect of huts, tracks and other facilities in the Wellington conservancy. The operation of the Taraura-Aorangi Huts Committee has been very successful due to the willingness of DoC and the clubs to work together over huts in the area. We also enjoyed working with DoC to replace the dilapidated Mountain House Hut with a new Shelter in the past year, as well as continuing to assist with repairs and maintenance of Smiths Creek and Maungahuka Huts. We look forward to working further with DoC on this committee and in particular progressing the replacement/enlargement of Maungahuka Hut.
There are a couple of suggestions that members have made in relation to huts and facilities in the Wellington conservancy:
i. Dorset Ridge Hut – a number of members expressed concerns about the proposed removal of this hut. We therefore consider that this hut be retained.
ii. Rimutaka’s ? is it possible to have a swingbridge over the Orongorongo River near the 5 mile track?. This is not proposed by DOC but one club member suggested this – it would allow access at times of high flow.
ii. Otaki Gorge road ? we are unsure if the maintenance of this road is the responsibility of DoC or the local council. Over there years the road has deteriorated. It is good that many DoC facilities are being provided in the Otaki Forks area but having good road access is equally important. Ideally it should be possible to take larger vehicles into this road end.
The DoC proposal notes that Hopeless Hut is an avalanche area and that DoC are looking at options. We strongly support the retention of a hut in this general area as it is important to climbing.
Matiri Plateau (ie the 1000 acre plateau in Kahurangi National Park). It is proposed that Larikins and Haystack huts be removed and replace Poor Petes Hut. We think more thought needs to go into this proposal. Maybe a better option would be a new hut, not at Poor Pete?s Hut but further in (closer to the Needle and the Haystack). If it was a possible to have a circular route provided from either the Needle or the Haystack (or somewhere on the 1000 acre plateau) to the valley below then this would allow a circular route then this would create a more accessible circular route (rather than the present scramble down different spurs which can be very difficult for inexperienced parties).
Queen Charolette Track. We support the proposal to extend the track 4kms to Cannibal Cove in the north. This is an excellent area.
Molesworth Station and the Kaikora Ranges: We think that DoC needs to rethink what facilities are offered in this area following the announcement by PM pre Xmas to establish a park in the Molesworth stn area (not sure of the park boundaries). There do not seem to be many facilities or tracks proposed for this area.
Campsites in the Sounds ? (i) It is good to hear about the intention to provide new facilities in Tawa Bay as this is a area we often use for sea kayaking trips.
(ii) We are concerned about proposals to close some of the basic campsites where there are at present no or basic facilities. There are an insufficient number of campsites in the Sounds and at present there can be problems with multiple usage of some of these sites. (Club members generally don?t enjoy using campsites that Outward Bound users are at ? their late arrivals/early departures make using these campsites a frustrating and annoying experience that seems to happen quite often at certain popular sites such as Ratimea Bay). Maybe one option would be to provide campsites, maybe maintained by Outward Bound that they can use for their rowing/sailing trips.
(iii) At other sites where there is often no toilet facilities provided it is frustrating to arrive at these sites and see toilet waste (presumably from boaties) lying around in these areas. Maybe long drops could be installed on some of these sites.
Adelaide Tarn/Lonely Lake (in Kahurangi Nat Park). Unfortunately we didn?t receive any comments from members about the huts at these locations.
Flora Hut (in Kahurangi Hut) ? we do not have a view as to what should be done with this facility.
Wangapeka Track Huts – Having huts on the track 3/4 hours apart should only be a very long term objective. Removing Stone and Helicopter huts at this stage does not seem to be a priority to us.
Motukarara to Little River rail trail is a good idea. The Central Otago Rail Trail has been an excellent success and a number of members have done this since it opened. Converting previous railway lines into walking/cycling tracks is really appreciated. Rail trails overseas are very popular and it is likely that they will be increasingly so in New Zealand.
West Coast conservancy
1. There are a number of huts where DoC are proposing minimal maintenance for the remaining life of the huts (and then its goodbye..)
We support the proposals to enlarge/replace Masons Bay and Port William huts. Members have also experienced crowding at Freshwater Landing hut and as a result it would be good if DoC could consider further whether this hut also should be enlarged.