by Al Williams
Department of Conservation staff have been carrying out back-country maintenance in the Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park.
Doc community supervisor Chris Coulter said four staff members were in the area beyond Mesopotamia Station last week, working on the Crooked Spur Hut, Stone Hut and Royal Hut.
“They have been improving track marking [placing orange sleeves on waratahs], carrying out minor hut maintenance, replacing hut books and installing new signage.”
A new long-drop hole was dug at Stone Hut and the toilet moved.
An inspector accompanied the party to audit the huts.
“These particular huts are audited every four years,” Ms Coulter said.
“The structural safety of the hut is checked and all parts of the hut are checked to ensure they match the Doc service standard.
“Anything found needing maintenance is then programmed to be repaired at a later date.”
There had been an increase in visitor numbers in the park so marking was checked and additional markers put in where needed, she said.
“This section of the trail saw a 50% increase on visitors, based on hut book statistics between 2013 and 2017.
“The whole track is becoming increasing popular.
“Most are overseas tourists, who are always commenting on how awe-inspiring the scenery is and how it constantly changes from one section to another.”
The Crooked Spur Hut, Stone Hut and Royal Hut fall under the basic category and there is no charge for their use. The three huts all sleep up to eight people.