A new 3-bed tent camp has been constructed at the head of Lake Stanley to provide a welcome shelter on the 10-11 hour tramp between Waingaro Forks Hut and Anatoki Forks Hut in Kahurangi National Park. The 6m x 3m structure was built by DOC staff and six Golden Bay Alpine and Tramping Club volunteers, made from canvas and a rustic timber frame, harking back to a simpler age of life in the bush and was officially opened on Saturday 16 April.
It replaces the Smokey Drip Hut removed from the lower end of Lake Stanley in 1998 because of the risk from a landslide. The name Soper Shelter was chosen to commemorate Frank and his late wife, Berna Soper, who were founding members of the Golden Bay Alpine and Tramping Club. The project was supported by the FMC Trust rather than the Outdoor Recreation Consortium. The total cost to build the shelter was $13,000, the majority of which went into ferrying in materials by helicopter. The shelter is now open to the public, is free and no booking is needed.
Lonely Lake Hut renovation
Volunteers have recently upgraded Lonely Lake Hut in Kahurangi National Park. Over three days in January the hut exterior was prepared and repainted and drainage work and vegetation clearing was completed around the hut. The main upgrade work took place over a ten-day period in late April. This involved the full insulation of the walls and ceiling and relining the interior. A new window and a new larger skylight were installed to provide more light. The three bunks were widened and a fourth folding bunk was added. A stainless steel bench was installed along with shelving above and below.
The project involved about 350 volunteer hours by five people and was funded by the NZ Outdoor Recreation Consortium with a grant of $4500 as well as donated and discounted materials.
The hut is situated on the Douglas Range, 6-8 hours tramping from Fenella Hut in the Cobb Valley.
Mt Fell Hut project
Nelson Tramping Club has been successful in its application to the NZ Outdoor Recreation Consortium for $10,000 in funding for the relocation and renovation of Mt Fell Hut in Mt Richmond Forest Park. Waimea Tramping Club and Marlborough Tramping Club also have the opportunity to be involved in the project. It is anticipated that soon the Air Force will use their 4½ tonne lift-capacity helicopter to relocate the hut onto temporary piles at its new site along with the water tank. In October or November a three-day working bee using about 10-12 people would put in new piles and winch the hut onto the new foundations. Before Christmas a smaller team would repaint and renovate the hut interior including the installation of new bunks and a new tank stand.
Flora Hut renovation
Nelson Tramping Club volunteers have completed renovation work on Flora Hut in Kahurangi National Park with the final working bee held on 16-17 April. This year volunteers have lined the west bunkroom with plywood, installed hoods around the fireplaces, painted the exposed interior timbers in both bunkrooms, and set up a water tap outside the hut fed from a nearby stream. Previously the club had installed roofing paper under the old iron, repainted the exterior of the hut, installed firebricks in the fireplaces, and lined the east bunkroom. More than 20 volunteers have put in 586 hours of work over the last two years. The club wanted to make the hut warmer, more easily heated and more attractive for families in winter. They also wanted to maintain the character of the hut. The 12-bunk hut can be reached in less than an hour of easy tramping from the Flora carpark and is free to use. The club was granted $7,600 for the project from the NZ Outdoor Recreation Consortium.
South Marlborough huts
DOC is looking for assistance from groups to maintain huts and tracks in South Marlborough. There are 58 huts in the area and because of the need to save $50,000 on spending on huts and tracks in the Nelson/Marlborough area, a number of huts will go onto a minimal maintenance list and the tracks to them will also not be maintained, but it is not planned that any huts will be removed. Any unmaintained huts should still remain in a good condition for 5-10 years. Already Silverstream Hut in the Raglan Range is on a minimal maintenance list, as well as the track leading to the hut.
Matt Flynn, DOC South Marlborough ranger estimates 70% of people using huts in South Marlborough are hunters and 70% of them don’t sign hut books. Often this is a habit of hunters not willing to disclose their favourite hunting areas. DOC urges all hut users sign hut books to give more indication of hut usage and the more likelihood of maintenance funding. Additionally DOC would like to promote the use of potential tramping circuits in South Marlborough area.