The Department of Conservation has confirmed the closure of its Onga Onga field base.
The move comes as part of a management review of positions in DoC's Manawatu District, and has been confirmed by DoC Manawatu District operations manager Allanah Irvine.
It had also been confirmed in an email last week to the Napier Tramping Club which had become concerned in September when members heard rumours that the base would close.
The review was conducted to produce what DoC believes is the most effective management structure for operations in the Manawatu District.
Manawatu District includes reserves from Horowhenua to Taihape as well as the Ruahine Forest Park and determine the Onga Onga base was under utilised.
The base, opened in 1990, had offered office and work space for eight staff working in reserves which are now managed by DoC's Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa and Manawatu Districts.
The remaining Hawke's Bay focused staff relocated to Napier more than two years ago, leaving only Manawatu-focused staff at Onga Onga.
Ms Irvine said two field staff positions will be relocated to Palmerston North, although Hawke's Bay Today understands one position has recently become vacant. She said there will be no staff reductions as a result of the change.
DoC Hawke's Bay operations manager Dave Carlton said delivery of conservation on public conservation land in Hawke's Bay will continue to be provided by DoC's Napier based team.
The base had covered the eastern side of the Ruahine Ranges, and lowland and coastal reserves within central and southern Hawke's Bay. Rangers had in the past carried out track maintenance, and animal and weed control, sometimes using volunteers such as tramping club members to help in specific projects.
Napier Tramping Club president Kelvin Shaw said club members and the Ruahine Users Group were disappointed because they believe it is necessary to have an officer who could "relate" to the tracks and huts in the area and the people using them.
Department of Conservation work in the Central and Southern Hawke's Bay districts,
including all work in local reserves near Onga Onga, is delivered by the Hawke's Bay
Operations District based in Napier.