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.
For stage one, in November, the Jobs for Nature Wanaka Build Team (Clint Jarvis, Mark Williamson and Hedley Wilton) removed the old galvanised cladding from three sides of the hut, re-clad it with 'Shadowclad' (which better suits the coastal environment) and replaced the east and west windows in the bunkrooms. The Wanaka Build team found the frame to be in perfect condition, but discovered the hut needed some other minor repairs to the wastewater pipes and woodshed.
Stage two commenced in early December. This involved DOC ranger Nick Stinson and a four-person volunteer team from the Wanaka and Winton branches of the Rotary Club (https://www.wanakarotary.club/) – Peter Sandford, George Scott, Ian Shore and Richard Wallace.
Over a week of hard work, the team finished all the interior and exterior painting.
Clint Jarvis returned to finish off the last jobs, including re-piling the old woodshed, installing the new gutters and fixing the watertank plumbing.
The Backcountry Trust would like to commend the DOC Rakiura team of Dale Chittenden, Andrew King and Nick Stinson for their engagement with the community. Together, both organisations share a vision of maintaining the network of facilities in the national park to an excellent standard.