Introduction

Trampers, hunters and mountain bikers are doing up dozens of huts and tracks they love and use around the country with the help of the government’s community conservation fund.

Flora Hut before makeover.
Flora Hut before makeover

Flora Hut after makeover with Nelson Tramping Club members. Photo: Ian Morris.
Flora Hut after makeover with Nelson Tramping Club members

Tunnel Creek Hut before makeover. Photo: Hugh van Noorde, Permolat.
Tunnel Creek Hut before makeover

Tunnel Creek Hut after makeover. Photo: Hugh van Noorden, Permolat.
Tunnel Creek Hut after makeover

The Nelson Tramping Club has revamped the popular Flora Hut in the Motueka area, while backcountry maintenance group Permolat has given 50-year-old Tunnel Creek Hut in South Westland a complete makeover.  

Auckland and allied tramping clubs are tidying up 100 km of tracks in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park and plan to re-establish a north-south tramping route through the area. 

Meanwhile in Canterbury, mountain bikers are working to upgrade their favourite riding tracks in Craigieburn Forest Park with the Castle Hill Community Association, and horse riders have put in holding paddocks and access gates for horse trekking in Lake Sumner Forest Park. 

DOC acting Recreation Manager Andy Thompson says the new partnership with outdoor recreation groups to maintain and enhance backcountry facilities on public conservation land has got off to a fantastic start. 

“So far over $600,000 has been allocated to 60 outdoor recreation groups, which are now getting stuck in putting in thousands of voluntary hours to look after their favourite huts and tracks.” 

“Their hands-on efforts to improve these facilities mean that more people can get out and enjoy them.”

Federated Mountain Clubs President Robin McNeill, speaking on behalf of the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium, says that New Zealanders feel a deep sense of ownership of our backcountry huts and tracks.

“Our club members enjoy putting time and effort into looking after the areas they climb, tramp, hunt and ride in, and access to the fund has enabled them to give these huts and tracks new life.”

More than 80 projects – including 50 huts, 45 tracks, three horse paddocks, one helipad, and 30 gun racks in huts – have been funded and work on these facilities will be largely completed by the end of the year. 

The New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium – an alliance of Federated Mountain Clubs, the New Zealand Deer Stalkers Association and Trailfund – is leading this work in partnership with DOC. 

Grants from the Consortium pay for materials and transport while volunteers supply the skills and labour to do the work. DOC provides advice and works in partnership with groups to ensure the work is done to the required standards. 

DOC manages more than 960 huts and 14,000 km of track around the country with priorities for maintaining and developing facilities based on usage. The work being done by outdoor groups enables more facilities to be enhanced and maintained.

Background information

The New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium was allocated $700,000 by the government in August last year through the Community Conservation Partnership Fund (CCPF) to help maintain and enhance facilities valued by their members. 

The Consortium is applying for further funding from the CCPF this year to enable more groups to get involved in this community-led conservation initiative. 

The Consortium covers over 130 tramping, climbing, hunting and biking clubs across the country, with an estimated 35,000 members. 

New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium website

Castle Hill Community Association volunteers, Hogsback Track, Craigieburn Forest Park
Castle Hill Community Association volunteers, Hogsback Track, Craigieburn Forest Park

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