On the 4th of September the Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced that two million in funding from the government's Kaimahi for Nature fund would be made available for the Backcountry Trust. This funding will be used to deliver a program of catch up maintenance work in the backcountry over the next two years.
The BCT Kaimahi for Nature program will run alongside out existing volunteer programme which continues unchanged. This initiative is part of the governments emergency Covid response and the Backcountry Trust has worked with DOC, and local communities affected by the tourism down turn, to out together a series of projects to help achieve the twin goals of getting more work done maintaining the hut and track network while providing valuable part time employment into these communities.
Local hut or track project in mind for the summer of 2020/21? Applications are open for Round 13 grants with the Backcountry Trust. Applications close 28th of August 2020. It's easy to underestimate the prep work needed to get some of these projects underway so now is the time to get planning.
Just over a month ago we had many groups out there in the backcountry, working away, putting something back in to the places they love. It had already been a pretty good summer for getting through another bundle of work on huts and tracks.
The Backcountry Trust board met in March and considered the applications for Round 12 grants. It was a diverse set of applications from mountain biking track maintenance projects, through to simple hut maintenance projects, through to the rebuilding of one of the classic South Island club huts. Fifteen new projects were approved as part of Round 12 totalling $192,000 in maintenance expenditure. Much of this expenditure is planned for the spring and hopefully will not be too affected by the current stop on work.
Some of the successful applicants include the Canterbury Mountaineering Club with their complete rebuild of Lyell Hut. The board made a significant contribution to the costs of this major project given this hut's importance to the wider recreation community. The board continued its support to some ongoing projects such as the Kaimai Ridgeway Track project, the Craigeburn Mountain Bike trail network and stage two of the restoration of Renata Hut in the Tararua's.
Kia ora koutou katoa,
It has been a difficult and concerning time for us all while we deal with the implications of the COVID-19 virus on our work, homes, and families.
We know that you are all swamped with information from various sources at this time.
From BCT's perspective, we want to check in briefly about what it means for our volunteer groups who have planned trips to look after our huts and tracks.
Here we are in the summer season (although it doesn't feel like summer down south!) and people are planning their trips to visit backcountry huts and tracks all over the country. Despite the marginal weather in places, volunteer groups with grants from previous rounds are already getting out there and completing projects, while others are gathering materials together and holding tight for better weather later in summer. So while you're out there enjoying the backcountry hut and track system over the holidays, it's the perfect time to start thinking about getting a volunteer group of your own together and getting an application in for funding. The focus for Round 12 will be on smaller projects to carry out a bit of useful maintenance like painting a hut, or trimming a tramping or mountain bike track to keep it maintained.
For more information, go to our applications page; https://www.backcountrytrust.org.nz/apply.html
For this round as well, we also have updated documents for your groups planning to do the work safely. To see the details head on over to the guidelines part of the website to make sure you get all the documents in place for the application: www.backcountrytrust.org.nz/guidelines.html
The September meeting of the Backcountry Trust approved a record number of applications which will go into a programme of work over the coming 2019/20 summer season.
Thirty one projects in total were approved for Round 11 totaling some $334,000 worth of work (including GST).
The April 2019 storms on the West Coast did severe damage to some rivers with a major flood event in the Thomas catchment. Seeing this valued hut under threat, DOC Haast moved quickly in May to get in and winch the hut away from its precarious position at the edge of the new riverbank.
This hut had previously been renovated by a volunteer group led by Geoff Spearpoint and he was once again back in the action.
DOC Hokitika did the plans for the new foundations and by 19th of September conditions were right on the coast to get back in to do the work. Colin Morris, the builder involved in the Mingha Biv restoration, came in to oversea the building work and Geoff was joined by volunteers Jane Morris and Hugh van Noorden.
It's that time of the year again to start getting your Backcountry Trust 2019/20 summer project bid in. The summer of 2018/19 was highly successful with volunteer groups getting through an impressive bundle of work in between some challenging weather cycles. As a result of people seeing the impact of all that good work, there has been alot of interest from new groups and a growing enthusiasm to roll up the sleeves and get some work done. We have more funds available for next summer so there has never been a better time to get together a group of friends and get a project up and running. In addition to the normal round of funding we are going to make a further round of funds available specifically for groups wanting to participate in a a Labour weekend track cutting bonanza. Stay tuned.
It is shaping up to be a busy 2018/19 summer for volunteer groups that have already applied for funding from the Backcountry Trust. There is usually a good few months lead time to get organised for a project to run successfully and now is the perfect time to plan ahead for spring 2019. Successful applications for Round 10 will be notified in late March leaving plenty of time to plan for those fine weather spells of spring. For more information go to our applications page:
Spring is in the air and now is the perfect time to get your application in for that summer hut or track project. The Backcountry Trust has many projects in the pipeline for this summer but is seeking applications from volunteer groups looking to undertake work this summer. Successful applications will be notified in October leaving plenty of time to plan for those fine weather spells of summer. For more information go to our applications page:
Some volunteer groups wait for the perfect weather forecast, and others just go for it and hope for the best. A group led by Tom Hayes of Christchurch went in last weekend to Healey Creek Hut to start the renovation of this West Coast hut. The maintenance issues on the hut had been known for a while. New piles needed, new roof, and a more reliable source of water with the installation of a new water tank. Braving robust West Coast autumn weather, the team managed to get the new roof on and build the new tank stand and get it all hooked up with the tank. A start was made on getting the new piles in place but will need another trip to finish. Tom reported the hut was still in pretty good condition despite the old leaking roof and should now be water tight for another 50 years.