The future of Lake Dive Hut on Taranaki Mounga is uncertain, as no decision has been made to rebuild the hut after it burned down in September last year.
The 16-bunker was on the Around the Mountain Circuit on the south side of the mountain. A man has reportedly been charged in relation to the fire.
A DOC spokesperson said it was looking at whether a replacement was required and what the hut would cost to rebuild.
“We’re looking at a range of aspects such as visitor usage, the overall hut network within Egmont National Park, and the cost,” a spokesperson said. “The hut is in a beautiful location, but we need to consider how any rebuild fits into the broader visitor strategy for the park.
“We think a rebuild would take up to three months depending on the final design and the weather during construction.”
Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC) spokesperson Megan Dimozantos said both FMC and the New Plymouth Tramping Club want to see it rebuilt.
“It was a much loved and much-used hut on the Around the Mountain Circuit and also as a pretty spectacular overnight trip,” Dimozantos said.
She said the loss of the hut leaves a gap in the mountain circuit and visitors to Lake Dive Hut would likely increase with the growing popularity of the Pouakai Crossing.
“In my view [this] makes Lake Dive Hut a fairly critical piece of backcountry infrastructure.”
She said FMC understood funding was the main issue, but it had talked with DOC about investigating funding from the Backcountry Trust or fundraising from other sources.
She said even if funding was secured, it probably wouldn’t be rebuilt until summer 2022/23 at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the Around the Mountain Circuit has been partially closed since July after a storm carved a deep canyon in a tributary of the Waiaua Stream, cutting off the Ihaia/Oaonui Track access to Waiaua Gorge Hut.