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December 2012 Issue
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Editorial, December 2012

Kauritatahi hut, looked after by Thames Deerstalkers.

Another year draws to an end and if you’re anything like me, you’re looking forward to some lazy summer days over the holiday period. It’s a chance to unwind, load up on vitamin D and prepare for the year ahead.

The best way to do that, as far as we’re concerned at the Wilderness office, is by dreaming about new trips to new locations. This issue is chocka block full of such trips – 28 to be precise. They’re all in national parks and they’re places where you’ll be sure to escape the crowds this summer.

This issue we also take a look at what we think is an astonishing lack of huts in the upper North Island. There are just 25 DOC huts from Waikato north. It’s a problem because there is around 2.2 million people living in this area and we feel they are being overlooked for the more glamorous tourist locations found in the South Island.

Admittedly the amount of conservation land in the upper North Island is miniscule compared to other regions, but some parks, most notably in my opinion (only because I holiday there every year) is Coromandel Forest Park. This 72,000ha park has just two huts. Considering the Coromandel Peninsula is a hotspot for tourism, it has always seemed strange to me that there are so few huts in the park.

There is the possibility of a hut being built near Hihi Peak, but I’ve been hearing those rumours for more than five years which is when I last tramped to the summit of Kaitarakihi, south of Hihi. After that trip, I asked DOC why it hadn’t built a hut in the area to make a two-three day tramp possible from SH25 to Kauaeranga Valley Road via Hihi and Pinnacles Hut. They said it was on the list of things to do.

It still hasn’t been done, but the rumours persist.

If DOC really wants to foster recreation, it won’t find an easier way than by increasing participation in the most densely populated area of the country. Just a 0.01 per cent increase in participation of upper North Islanders recreating on DOC land would amount to an extra 22,000 people  in the bush, staying at huts. That’s bang for your buck.

After reading the article on the state of recreation facilities in the upper North Island (p70) I’m sure you’ll agree the region needs more TLC. Or maybe you think we northerners should harden up and stop whinging. Either way, I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.

Happy tramping and all the best for 2013.