DoC wants road to stay open

By Patrick O'Sullivan

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Hunter Kane Hitchman from Feilding, pictured at A Frame Hut in the Ruahine Range. The shelter has been vandalised and the water tank stolen. Photo / Glenn Taylor
Hunter Kane Hitchman from Feilding, pictured at A Frame Hut in the Ruahine Range. The shelter has been vandalised and the water tank stolen. Photo / Glenn Taylor

The future of a Department of Conservation hut may be reviewed after suffering constant vandalism but the road it sits near will remain open, DOC Manawatu-Wairarapa partnerships manager Chris Lester says.

He said Takapari Rd, on top of the southern Ruahine Range near Dannevirke, "is a pretty special place" and would remain open.

Previous reports said the road could be closed in the Ruahine Forest Park because a hut alongside the road had been constantly vandalised.

A-Frame Hut, also known as Travers Hut, has suffered extensive vandalism including holes kicked in its walls/roof and graffiti.

DOC's website advises users that due to constant vandalism all facilities had been removed.

Mr Lester said it was not a key hut - there were others within a two-hour walk - but it enabled elderly or disabled people to experience a night in remote bush.

"I hope some hunting or tramping club branch will come forward and and help to manage it," he said.

He said DOC did not wish to close the road.

"Quad biking and four wheel driving is a legitimate outdoor activity."

From the hut vehicle tracks led to a ridge "where on a good day you get to see both coasts".

"It's quite an opportunity for folk who don't have the opportunity to use their 4WD very often to go to some place pretty adventurous."

Takapari Rd, while close to Dannevirke, is accessed from the western side of the range. It is the only public-access driveable route to the top of the Ruahine Range.

If no group came forward the hut's future would be reviewed, he said. "People might be relying on it and if it is not going to provide adequate shelter it becomes a bit of a risk."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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