Victoria Forest Park, West Coast – November 2021
The Big River area (near the West Coast town of Reefton) is rich in gold-mining history, and offers a wide variety of opportunities for 4WDing, mountain-biking, horse-riding and of course tramping. Notable among these are the tracks in the Big River-Waiuta area.
Waiuta was a mining town that saw mining activity as late as the 1950s, while during the Big River era (1882-1942) as many as 100 people worked the vicinity. A track connecting the two was recently upgraded through a Jobs for Nature project.
Two weeks of fine weather in November allowed a team of Greymouth DOC staff and Backcountry Trust contractors to polish off a long-standing bit of much-needed track work. This was one of those frustrating projects that had suffered weather delays so many times that the original start date is lost in the mists of time.
So it was with huge relief and satisfaction that David Deck from DOC and Tim Marshall from Ultimate Descents got their respective crews on the ground. Thanks to some sharp chopper work from Airwest Helicopters, and quick turnarounds from the ground crew, roughly twice the volume of gravel was laid as anticipated.
Fixing this particular track to a good, usable standard will benefit a multitude of different user groups.
Thanks to the Jobs for Nature funding, the DOC staff and BCT contractors, another great joint project is complete – more to come soon!
Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island – November & December 2021
Yankee River Hut, situated beside a tidal estuary alongside the Yankee River, is one of the older huts on Rakiura’s North West Circuit. The hut is an example of a larger NZFS design, built primarily for recreation, and it has 12 bunks in two rooms. The other remaining one on the North West Circuit is Big Bungaree Hut. DOC is trying to retain both these facilities as historic to preserve their character.
Another example is the Kiwi Burn Hut in the Mavora Valley, adjacent to Fiordland.
In March 2021, an inspection revealed that Yankee River Hut needed some serious attention. Working with DOC Rakiura staff, the Backcountry Trust developed a two-stage plan to upgrade the hut.