Letter of the month
Wardens need to step up to bullies
I read the article about the bullies at Blue Lake Hut and it filled me with sadness (‘Bunks for all but her’, July 2018). What stood out most was the inability of two hut wardens to manage the situation.
How can hut wardens be better supported to deal with these kinds of people? I have been on trips where hut wardens have clearly avoided dealing with the non-payers and also not intervened when hut etiquette was not being adhered to (people wearing boots in the hut being the most common example).
It is difficult to deal with potentially adverse situations and when figures of authority are not forthcoming with assistance, it is a disabling and negative experience.
– Min Lo, email
I am fully in favour of a preferential booking system for the Great Walks (‘Kiwis first dibs’, July 2018). That is, presumably, a number of hut beds will be kept available for New Zealanders through the season, or they will get first pick.
Already Kiwis are being treated to better pricing than overseas tourists on the Routeburn, Milford, Kepler and Abel Tasman Great Walks to the tune of half price. And so should it be, for who is it, through various taxes and the government’s financial vote to DOC, who already pay for the establishment and upkeep of these walks, but you and I?
The article showed that the Great Walks are running at a deficit of around $3.8million. So we are financially supporting walks for overseas tourists, while at the same time often being unable – at present – to enjoy the walks ourselves, because they are booked out by overseas tourists.
– Tim Baker, Auckland
I’m surprised the interview subjects of your Instagram story (‘The Insta-goldrush’, May 2018) agreed to give their real names. Exploiting (and ruining) others for financial gain, justifying it and then self-righteously explaining why they are morally superior to their peers – pimps have always deluded themselves with these excuses.
– Rosie France, email
Brighter outdoor clothing
I would like to challenge manufacturers of tramping clothing to use bright colours. For most of what I buy, I have a choice of black, grey, green, and it’s continually frustrating.
There are two issues here: one is safety, the other convenience. If there is an emergency, bright clothing is more easily spotted, such as a red or blue balaclava on the snow compared to black. (I’m searching for a balaclava now and most are black).
Bright coloured clothing is also easier to find when hunting in a dark pack in a howling wind.
Tramping clothing in the 1990’s used to come in all sorts of colours. I’d love some more choice.
– Andrea Shepherd, email
The threat of farmers closing track access due to growing popularity and a lack of infrastructure sparked debate on the Wilderness Facebook page:
Shaun Donovan: Don’t buy land with access rights if you can’t handle the jandle, I mean the tramping boot.
Catherine Kilgour: Some farmers have opened their farms up before the number of trampers was an issue. So no previous ‘rights’ when they purchased the land.
Keith Roberts: Access in NZ isn’t your right. Any farmer can deny any private individual entry.
Andrew Burfield: It staggers me that publicly-owned access corridors to conservation land weren’t a standard requirement of any deal that came out of Crown lease tenure review.
News of a potential Great Walk in Molesworth Station was met with trepidation by some readers.
Robin Kearns: Sadly, the spectre of crowding, mega-huts, and high fees makes the question ‘Could this be the next Great Walk?’ one that’s as ominous as the gathering storm clouds.
Ian Barraclough: There goes another unspoilt wilderness environment shot to pieces!
Jill Bonniface: We are thinking of driving through this summer. I can’t imagine ‘crowds’ walking it if it were to become a Great Walk. I have never experienced crowds on any of the Great Walks.