Old Ghost Road, Kahurangi National Park, West Coast – March 2022
Located on the popular Old Ghost Road track, Goat Creek Hut oozes history. The small hut lies on a river terrace near the confluence of Goat Creek with the Mōkihinui River South Branch. It was one of a group of huts built in the mid-1950s by staff from the Nelson Conservancy of the New Zealand Forest Service, using materials dropped out of a plane. It was an early experimental hut design for wild animal culling purposes.
Wangapeka Track, Kahurangi National Park – March 2022
What’s harder than building a new hut in the backcountry? Relocating an existing one.
Years of speculation, multiple geotech reports, months of planning, and now weeks of effort have resulted in a new location for Belltown Mananui Hut, in the Little Wanganui Valley. Thanks to funding from Kaimahi for Nature, an Ultimate Descents team led by Tim Marshall completed this epic hut relocation in March. Now the hut is better, warmer and more appealing than ever.
Kahurangi National Park, West Coast – March 2022
Some huts hold appeal simply because of their remoteness, others for their history. Kākāpo Hut can lay claim to being remote and historically important. The 4-bunk hut is one of the early deer-culling huts developed by the Forest Service in Nelson as a trial using helicopters to transport materials in (rather than parachuting in loads from planes). It was built in 1958, along with others in Northwest Nelson including McConchies, Karamea Bend and Luna (Kākāpo and McConchies are the only two which still remain as public huts). The trial proved successful and helped usher in the helicopter era of building huts.
Ruahine Forest Park, Hawke’s Bay – 21-24 February 2022
The Ruahine Range isn’t known for its precious metals, but perhaps gold of a different sort lent its name to Gold Creek. Gold Creek Hut is a tidy four-bunker located in the mid-reaches of Gold Creek, a tributary of the Makarora River. It’s reached either on a track on a bush ridge above the valley, or up the creek itself. Built in 1958, it was one of the first standard S81 huts to be erected by the Forest Service in the Ruahine Range.
Like many other Ruahine huts, Gold Creek Hut needed some attention, and thanks to a grant from the Kaimahi for Nature Fund, it got a great tidy-up in February. Joe Eagles led the KFN team of four, which included Corey Loynes, Vince Marsiglia and Tyrell Hillman.
Joe tells the story.
Dart Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park, Otago – February 2022
The February 2020 floods created significant infrastructure damage in the southern part of Mt Aspiring National Park and the northern part of Fiordland National Park. One of the bridges washed away was located at a critical ford of the Dart River at Daleys Flat. This swingbridge provided essential access to the Barrier Ranger for parties accessing Seal Col and the Margaret Glacier, one of the important routes in and out of the Olivine Wilderness Area.