South Westland – 20-22 April 2021
Located in this superbly named tributary of the Haast River, deep in South Westland, Roaring Billy Hut is an old Forest Service-era hut. BCT Board member Geoff Spearpoint has long had an interest in the area, and in recent years has also led work parties to restore the hut in the adjacent Thomas River.
Shortly before the Roar of 2021, Geoff got a call from Jeff Rawles, one of the DOC rangers based at Haast. He was concerned about the state of the Roaring Billy Hut, which was reported as being mouldy. Rawles was concerned that the hut might not be in a good state for the expected influx of hunters. After securing funding for costs from the BCT, Geoff undertook to fix any problems, accompanied with his wife Jane Morris.
Silverpeaks Scenic Reserve, Dunedin - May 2021
The Silverpeaks Circuit Track is located within the Silverpeaks Scenic Reserve, just a 15-minute drive from Dunedin City. The 25km circuit takes 2-3 days, with accommodation at Jubilee Hut (10 bunks) and Philip J Cox Memorial Hut (4 bunks). It crosses regenerating native forest and tussock-covered schist hills. Any of the four 700m plus peaks in the area offer an almost uninterrupted panoramic view of inland and coastal Otago. The track services a local population of 140,000 Dunedin residents, and numbers using it continue to grow as day walkers, runners and trampers head out to explore the reserve.
Chalkies Scenic Reserve, Dunedin – May 2021
The Green Hut Track Group (GHTG) are a group of volunteers (mostly retired) who for the last 20 years have maintained an extensive backcountry track network across Dunedin on behalf of the DOC and the Dunedin City Council. Every Wednesday the GHTG undertake track maintenance on one or more of the 56 tracks on their list.
Dunedin’s backcountry is highly accessible to the city, and the work undertaken by the GHTG is critical to keeping many of the tracks open to the public. Without the dedicated work of this group, some tracks would have been lost.
Recently the group completed work on Chalkies Track, aided with a grant from the Backcountry Trust.
Chalkies Track, just 10 min drive from Dunedin’s city centre is located within the Chalkies Scenic Reserve. A steep tramping track, it climbs 400m through native bush to emerge onto Powder Hill, which offers spectacular views of the Silverpeaks and Taieri Plans. Impressive limestone cliffs also feature.
In May, 10 members of the GHTG and one DOC ranger completed work on 6 km of track, focusing on the upper section, which had not been maintained for 3 years. The team completed vegetation cutting, track marking and step cutting. They also replaced a rope on a steep section of the track on a rocky face. Altogether they spent 85 person hours in the field, adding to a further 10 hours of planning.
Fiordland National Park, Southland – November-December 2020
The coastline of the Hollyford Track is one of the most magnificent in New Zealand – with sand dunes, rocky reefs, wild surf, forest right to the edge of the sea, and the backdrop of the Darran Mountains and Red Hills. Late last year, volunteers from the Hollyford Conservation Trust completed work on a section of track between Martins Bay and Big Bay, north of the Hollyford Track, facilitated by a BCT grant. In recent years, this coastal track had become heavily overgrown by vegetation, particularly kiekie and harakeke (flax).
Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park – April 2021
Over recent years, a community group have undertaken extensive work to upgrade and re-route the old North-South Track, a tramping route that traverses the length of the Kaimai Range, which divides the Bay of Plenty from the Waikato.
Called the Kaimai Ridgeway Trust (KRT), the group have cut tracks, erected huts and constructed boardwalks – all part of a vision to create a fine tramping route suitable for lesser-experienced trampers and families. Previously, large parts of the old Forest Service-era track were overgrown, swampy or without shelter.