Dunedin’s Silver Peaks tracks are in top shape for trampers thanks to the efforts of a small group of dedicated volunteers.

Dunedin’s Silver Peaks tracks are in top shape for trampers thanks to the efforts of a small group of dedicated volunteers.

Green Hut Track Group members help maintain tracks on the popular yellow ridge section of the Silver Peaks tramping route between ABC cave and Phillip J Cox Memorial hut. The work is carried out in liaison with DOC.

Track maintenance volunteers.
Green Hut Track Group volunteers carry out track maintenance in the Silver Peaks
From left: Geoff Gardyne, Chris Mansfield, Graeme Elliot, Dick Simmers, Murray Gardner

The group received a $1,500 grant to cover machinery running costs from the New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium, which is run in partnership with DOC using grants from the Community Conservation Partnership Fund (CCPF).

The late George Sutherland formed the group in the early 1990s. George regularly walked in the Silver Peaks to regain fitness after recovering from a heart attack. Others, some also recovering from similar conditions, began to join him on his walks. They noticed the deteriorating track conditions and took on clearing and maintaining the tracks while out walking.

The group was named after a mustering hut removed from the Silver Peaks in the 1960s. The Green Hut site remains a popular rest and picnic spot and the group has drafted a proposal to erect two bench seats at the site.

Volunteers in front of helicopter.
DOC ranger and Green Hut Track Group volunteers stand by their ride into the Silver Peaks
From left: DOC ranger Simon Alefosio-Tuck and volunteers Geoff Gardyne, Dick Simmers, Murray Gardner, Chris Mansfield, Graeme Elliot

DOC ranger Simon Alefosio-Tuck says, "The work these volunteers do in the Silver Peaks, and other locations around the region, is highly valued. They are dedicated to maintaining tracks in the area to a high standard for the community to enjoy."

Green Hut Track Group Coordinator Graeme Elliot says funding from the recreation consortium was welcomed as it covered costs for servicing mechanical equipment. Graeme said "The group will continue making applications to this fund to enable them to carry out more track maintenance in the Dunedin area."

The New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium was granted $700,000 by DOC's Community Conservation Partnership Fund last year to go towards helping maintain and enhance back country tracks and huts on conservation land. These funds have then been made available to all backcountry users for projects specifically focused on the maintenance of existing backcountry recreational facilities.

Background information

New Zealand Outdoor Recreation Consortium

The NZ Outdoor Recreation Consortium was formed in 2014 as a partnership between FMC, NZDA and Trail Fund NZ to maintain and enhance back-country facilities and attract a wider range of users to enjoy and look after these special places. The consortium works on behalf of a wide range of user groups in the outdoors to manage and distribute funding obtained for these purposes, including funding obtained from DOC’s Community Conservation Partnership Fund, for the benefit of all who enjoy the New Zealand backcountry.

Silver Peaks

The Silver Peaks Range lies between the Taieri River to the west and Blueskin Bay and Waitati in the east. The Silver Peaks Scenic Reserve and adjoining areas provide day walks as well as challenging backcountry overnight tramping.

The main Silver Peaks track, a route suitable for experienced trampers, crosses tussock-covered schist hills with occasional clumps of bush and regenerating forest. An almost uninterrupted panorama of inland and coastal Otago can be seen from any of the four 700-metre plus peaks.

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