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March 2017 Issue
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Tramping with a purpose

Checking the WTMC’s Aranga Junction trap line. Photo: Supplied

More and more people seem to be tramping with a purpose. Whether it’s the crews painting huts, cutting down wilding pines or members of the tramping clubs who have made it their duty to check traps in Ruahine Forest Park every other weekend (see our feature on p38), going for a hike while simultaneously improving the environment and infrastructure seems to be becoming as much a part of tramping in this country as is staying in a hut.

Every month brings news of another group doing something to improve the recreational experience for others. In the old days, such work might have been called a working bee. But these days, because it’s happening so often and so regularly, some trampers have coined a term for it. Palmerston North Tramping and Mountaineering Club members call it ‘applied tramping’. For members of the Wellington Tramping and Mountaineering Club, it’s ‘tramping with a purpose’. You might have your own term for it, or heard of a different phrase (if so, I’d like to know what it is).

Regardless of what it’s called though, I find it inspiring. I am constantly amazed by the people who find the time to put in the hard yards to make the backcountry better. They are selflessly saving wildlife and backcountry facilities – our heritage – for no gain other than the weary smile that comes with the satisfaction of a job well done. For the most part, they are the unsung heroes of the tramping community.