Upper Nina Biv maintenance
For the past ten years the Hurunui College Nina Valley Restoration Group have had a trap line up the Nina River as part of bringing back the birds to this valley. The valley has a remnant population of Great Spotted Kiwi, Kaka, Kea and parakeets as well as a small population of Whio (Blue Duck). In the early years the trap line only went as far as the new 10 bunk Nina Hut, but as the project gained momentum the group pushed their ambition further up the valley. The group had established a permanent storage in the small two bunk Upper Nina Biv which they used for storing camping, spare traps and cooking gear for the group on extended trips. The site had no toilet for larger groups camping here and the storage was taking up alot of space in small biv. The Backcountry Trust identified this facility as a priority for investment and put together a team to go in and do the work in December 2018.
The team for the trip was once again legendary backcountry builder Eric Saggers, his partner Ursi, Colin Monteath and Rob Brown. Geoff Spearpoint walked in to join the party on the third day of the project. Prior to the trip Eric had built a new toilet for the hut and this was flat packed for transport to the site. Bill Hales of Alpine Springs Helicopters flew the materials and gear in and by the first afternoon Colin and Rob had made a start on digging the toilet pit, while Eric and Ursi got started on re-roofing the biv. The team was hit with some miserable weather for half the week but there was enough fine weather at the start to get the main outside construction jobs done like the assembly of the new toilet and the building of a large new woodshed that would have room for the biodiversity group's storage bin.
The interior of the hut was gutted and the old linings pulled out as over time they had become pretty mouldy and degraded. The original frame was found to be in excellent condition. The fire place cleaned out and repaired with a new shroud fitted over the top to prevent the rain coming down into the hearth. This had caused some problems over time and the biv had developed a bit of rotten flooring around the hearth.
The final couple of days involved finishing the lining and new bunks, as well as stocking the new woodshed with firewood. All up the group put in seven days work to renovate the hut and upgrade the site to be suitable for the kids that head up this valley once a month to carry out this valuable pest control work. Since the renovation the area has also been getting regular use by trampers heading over from Lake Christabel and hunters visiting this important recreational hunting area.
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