Date: 22 April 2021
Department of Conservation Director of Heritage and Visitors Steve Taylor said a highly-precautionary approach is being taken to the issue and the huts will be closed and fumigated immediately.
While bedbugs have not previously been reported in huts along the Whanganui River, this week’s report was from a credible source, Steve Taylor said.
“Consequently, we are treating this as an urgent matter and have responded immediately.”
Both the Whakahoro and Tīeke Huts will be temporarily closed for treatment while further down the river the John Coull Hut will remain closed.
With the Great Walk season for the kayak journey ending in only a week’s time, the number of visitors affected will be limited.
Steve Taylor said DOC has contacted all the people booked to use the huts through to the end of the season as well as tour guiding companies and advised them of the closures and treatment plans.
He said many people have indicated they will still proceed with their plans but may choose to camp instead. Others will get refunds.
Bed bugs aren’t a common issue across the DOC hut network, but infestations do appear from time to time. DOC’s approach is to work swiftly to get on top of any minor infestations before they become a bigger issue.
“Obviously, we want people to enjoy their experiences in the great outdoors, and part of doing that comes from knowing the facilities and services the Department provides can be relied upon.
“Visitors to these fantastic DOC facilities can do their part by carefully cleaning their hiking gear between locations and by reporting any bedbug sightings or attacks promptly so we can deal with them as soon as possible,” Steve Taylor said.
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