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March 2022 Issue
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Searcher urges trampers to use hut book

LandSAR volunteer Claire Pettigrew says trampers should sign in at every hut they pass.

A LandSAR search manager is urging trampers to sign the hut book in all huts they pass, an action that could save their life if they need rescuing.

Claire Pettigrew walked the Wangapeka and Leslie-Karamea tracks this summer and noticed many trampers were not using hut logbooks.

“People were signing in but only for the huts they were staying in overnight,” said Pettigrew, a Wellington LandSAR volunteer for the past six years.

Many track users in Kahurangi National Park whom Pettigrew spoke to were unaware that logbooks were amongst the first things LandSAR teams looked at when searching for missing trampers.

The logbook entries helped determine a person’s “last known points”, which search teams used to work out the areas to scour.

The more information a person left on the trail, “the easier it’s going to be to come and look for you”, Pettigrew said.

For example, the search area for a person walking from Hut A to Hut C would be halved if they signed in at Hut B.

On tracks with few huts, Pettigrew said it was important for trampers to leave detailed intentions in logbooks, including their route to the next stop when there was more than one option.