Built in 1968, Monument Hut is a tidy S70 6 bunk hut built by the NZFS in the Hopkins Valley. The New Zealand Forest Service had a great vision for opening up recreation in this valley pre-DOC with 2WD access formerly maintained up to Monument Hut. This opened up a huge area of backcountry ideal for family tramping, hunting and climbing. Over time the weather has chipped away at the road and it is now only suitable for competent 4WD vehicles. Without a 4WD many users will park at Ram Hill carpark and walk, or mountain bike, up to Monument Hut. A great little first stop on any adventure through the Hopkins Valley, or lunch break on the way to Red Hut, Huxley Forks or Dasler Biv. The area is also open to 4WD adventures up to the NZAC owned Elcho Hut.
Monument Hut had received regular general maintenance from DOC over the years, but was due for a renovation to deal with some outstanding issues. Daryl Taylor applied to Backcountry Trust in Round 11 for some funding to re-roof Monument Hut as well as tidy up the site which sadly in recent years had received some vandalism by some individuals in 4WDs not associated with many of the formal groups that value this area. By early March 2020, Daryl, along with his team of Scott McQueen, Cam Wilson, Nathan Fraser, Matty Taylor, Steve Smith, Pete Black, Richard Forbes and Alex Frobes, all headed up the Hopkins Valley with the plan to get the work done over a long weekend.
The group removed the roof, installed some insulation underneath new building paper, then replaced the roof with new coloursteel, ridging and capping. The interior walls, ceiling and bunks were cleaned and sanded down, then given two top coats of paint, while the exterior also got a full strip and prime, with two top coats applied.
They also carried out some work surrounding the hut, cutting in some stairs leading up from the carpark to the hut, and clearing a levelled space outside the hut door, creating an outdoor space that can be used to enjoy the view out across the river flats.
The group has further plans to return to the hut when circumstances allow to install a water tank and backfill the retaining walls, most likely in the Spring or early Summer later this year.