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May 2017 Issue
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Hut of the Year gets some TLC

the volunteer crew setting to work at Ivory Lake Hut. Photo: Keith Riley

There’s still some work to go, but Ivory Lake Hut is already looking in good health. Photo: keith Riley

A group of volunteers recently spent some time sprucing up Wilderness’s 2016 Hut of the Year, Ivory Lake Hut.

The remote hut sits at the headwaters of the Waitaha River, a renowned white water kayaking region on the West Coast. A group of five kayakers and mountaineers have been working hard on the hut since last year, transporting materials via helicopter, all made possible through a $10,000 Outdoor Recreation Consortium grant.

“It was in need of maintenance,” volunteer Keith Riley said.

The nearby Waitaha River is currently being considered for a dam site, worrying those who celebrate the river valley’s unique beauty and kayaking opportunities.
“In recognition of [the hut] being in a spectacular location, and our connection to that valley through many years of kayaking – especially given the dam proposal – we were enthused about being involved with highlighting and promoting the area.”

Renovations to the hut include a new cooking alcove, structural maintenance, a new roof, reinforced windows, improved ventilation, and new wall cladding. On their most recent trip over the summer, they also placed the Wilderness 2016 Hut of the Year plaque on the wall.

Riley and the other volunteers plan to return next spring to carry out the remaining work on the hut’s interior.