Obnoxious hut behaviour is once again causing concern for the Department of Conservation (DOC), after a tramper laid a formal complaint against a group of jet boaters at Lake Alabaster Hut on the Hollyford Track, Fiordland National Park.
Lake Alabaster Hut, Hollyford Valley
The tramper alerted DOC staff to the behaviour after staying in the 26-bunk hut along with the group. The group, who had been flown by helicopter into the hut with their jet boats, had brought with them a large amount of alcohol.
It is alleged that members of the group were unnecessarily noisy, rude to other hut occupants and, more concerningly, went hunting at night while drunk.
Greg Lind, DOC Operations Manager in Te Anau, said that the obnoxious behaviour would not be tolerated.
"We have investigated the incident and, though no criminal acts have been uncovered, there was clear disregard shown by the party for other hut users. It appears, based on this and other incidents, some jet boaters simply do not understand reasonable behaviour in the back-country."
"I have received reports of similar behaviour at the Wairaurahiri Hut in southern Fiordland."
"Offensive behaviour, especially when it intimidates other users of DOC facilities, is unacceptable. We have spoken with the group leader concerned."
Steve Kirner, Vice President and National Safety Officer of Jet Boating New Zealand, said they fully supported DOC’s stance.
"Jet Boating New Zealand does not condone this kind of behaviour and if any such instance involved its members we would fully cooperate with DOC or other authorities. Sadly, isolated incidents like this, regardless of whether they are JBNZ members, reflect badly on our organisation and jet boaters in general."
Greg Lind said the clear majority of hut users in Fiordland were considerate and friendly.
"It's a uniquely New Zealand experience to visit a DOC hut, meet people and make new friends. It's part of what makes us Kiwis."
"My request to jet boaters and others flying into these wonderful places is to respect the places and the rights and enjoyment of other users. I am thankful for the support of Jet Boating New Zealand."
Additional DOC staff are being deployed to popular visitor locations throughout Fiordland over the busy summer season.
"DOC will be taking a hard line on any antisocial behaviour," Greg Lind said.