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Tramper suspicious of private Great Walk bookings

A tramper who missed out on Milford Track and other Great Walk bookings is questioning whether guiding companies have an unfair advantage. Photo: Mathew Cattin

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A Spinoff writer is questioning the fairness of DOC bookings, after missing out on the Milford Track for the second year in a row.

“The DOC huts on the Milford each have just 40 bunks, so places are limited, but we had three possible starting dates, not just one, and they were at off-peak times, not over New Year or Waitangi weekend,” Fiona Farrell wrote. “Three of us would try to book a date, and surely one would score. When booking you have to list the names and ages of all the members of your party. We had the lists ready, we were logged on, we were poised to strike on the dot of 9.30am when bookings opened.

“We almost succeeded. Got one date, but in the brief interval while filling in names and ages the booking vanished.”

The disappointed tramper found no consolation in DOC’s heritage and visitors director Steve Taylor’s comment that there are “still fantastic guided opportunities on this and other Great Walks”.

“While thousands of ‘eager Kiwi’ trampers miss out, private companies appear to be snapping up places in our taxpayer-funded DOC huts,” Farrell wrote.

The author was puzzled after finding numerous opportunities to walk the Great Walks with guided companies, while the tracks remained sold out to the public.

“The question I was left asking is just how many of those eager Kiwis preparing to make their bookings were in fact eager Kiwi companies making a substantial private profit from the huts and tracks we as taxpayers pay to maintain and operate?” she said.

DOC’s Steve Taylor told The Spinoff there are “no privately sold places for DOC’s Great Walk huts”.

ERead the full story here.

The North Face caught in logo dispute

Outdoor clothing company The North Face will discontinue the logo for its FutureLight gear, after an artist filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the brand, reports Outside Magazine.

Artist Leonard McGurr, known as Futura, posted a scathing statement on Instagram.

“In a recent court filing, they [The North Face] reduced my entire career to nothing more than a ‘self-described street artist who sometimes uses an atom motif in his artwork’,” McGurr wrote.

“They also claim that because I sometimes paint different versions of my atom, I have no legal IP protection or rights. If they succeed with that argument, many of us could no longer have protection for our artistic reinterpretations of our logos and brands, which is a foundational element of streetwear.”

The North Face said the similarity was coincidental, and announced in a statement it will phase out and discontinue their use of the logo.

Bats discovered at Mt Holdsworth

A previously unknown population of long-tailed bats has been discovered in Wairarapa.

The pekapeka were found on Mt Holdsworth and in the Rewa Bush Conservation Area by conservation group Sustainable Wairarapa, which has since used bat monitors to learn more about the population.

“We found high levels of activity in the areas the bats were found. This suggests there could be reasonable numbers of bats,” member Jim O’Malley said.

“We are working with the Department of Conservation to find if there are any short-tailed bats in the Tararua Range and develop a search strategy to find more bats in Wairarapa.”

Read more here.

California records hottest temperatures in over a century

California’s Death Valley National Park has recorded the hottest temperature in more than 100 years.

The mercury reached 54.4℃ last week in the Furnace Creek desert area, which in 1913 reached 57℃   – the highest reliably measured temperature on earth.

The temperature is a result of a heatwave and wildfires hitting western USA.

“We’re expecting more of the same the day after and the day after and the day after,” fire information officer Lisa Cox said.

The air has been so dry, some of the water dropped by aircraft to battle fires has evaporated before reaching the ground.

Read more here.