Newsletter, December 2008


Welcome to new members: Brenda Griffin and Jane Dewar

UPCOMING CLUBNIGHT: Monday 9 February 2009 (Put it in your diary!) The first meeting for 2009 kicks off with a presentation by Dirk de Groot on cycling in China, which should prove to be an interesting and educational journey for Dirk to share with us. So leave your tramping boots at home and come along to hear Dirk’s up close and personal insight into this giant of Asia which now has such an impact on the world. NB. This meeting is being held on the second Monday as the previous Monday is the Nelson Provincial Holiday. Nelson Intermediate School, Tipahi Street, 7.30 pm, gold coin admission. Pat Holland Ph 5391340

1 December 2008: NTC End of Year Function and Photo Competition. Once again we were privileged to have Don Pitham select the photos that he considered best illustrated the art of photography in the categories we chose as representing areas of interest to trampers. This year he had obviously put in a huge amount of preparation in choosing a piece of poetry as a preface to announcing his choices in each category. This, along with his pithy and humorous asides, added immensely to the fun of the evening. Liquid refreshments and a selection of cakes contributed to the festive atmosphere enjoyed by thirty two club members and guests. President Mark chaired the meeting and advised that the Club’s 75 th Anniversary was to be celebrated over the weekend of 28 February/1 March 2009 and encouraged us to mark those dates in our 2009 diaries.

The winning photos are now on the club website at and are as listed below. Landscape 1 Mike Locke, Frosty Dawn 2 Dion Pont, Martins Bay Sandspit 3 Uta Purcell, Red Hills Rockscape People 1 Pat Holland, Conway on the Up and Up 2 David Blunt, Striding Out 3 David Blunt, Time for a Nap Nature 1 Peter Syms, Haastia sinclairii 2 David Blunt, Dolphin George 3 Dion Pont, Leptinella pyrethrifolia Humour 1 David Blunt, Retired Tramper Reminiscing 2 Mark Graesser, Group Portrait by a Dedicated Photographer 3 Tony Haddon, Information Centre Exhibition 1 Mark Stevens, Tapi by Moonlight 2 Mark Stevens, Fishermen at Sunset 3 Mark Stevens, Misty Seascape Peoples Choice Mike Locke, Frosty Dawn N.B. The “ SALE” table will be back at the February meeting. Nelson Tramping Club Inc. 75 th Anniversary Weekend 28 February – 1 March 2009 This is a significant milestone for the Club and is to be celebrated at Rotoiti Lodge and on a range of day trips in the Nelson Lakes National Park, as noted in the Club programme. The Saturday evening get together will be an opportunity to meet up with past and present Club members to share memories and recreate those trips from “Those were the days!”, and if you book early enough, to sleep over at the Lodge, where spaces are limited. As this is a celebration of the history of the Club, past members are welcome to join in the festivities, so if you know any past members please pass on the invitation and ask them to contact either Pat Holland Ph.5391340 or to call in to see Hec or Gillian at Basecamp to get a Registration Form. Ruth Hesselyn is compiling a montage of photos and articles of both recent and historical interest for display at the Lodge, and would really appreciate receipt of any assistance in gathering this material as noted in the request below. A Registration Form is attached at the end of this newsletter and is to be returned, with payment, by 14 February 2009 by post to: The Secretary, Nelson Tramping Club Inc., c/o 114 Vanguard Street, NELSON, or hand in to Basecamp 295 Trafalgar Street, Nelson. Seeking Images The club is seeking images (CDs, prints, and slides) from club trips over the past decades to present day. These will be sorted and used for a display at Rotoiti Lodge, the venue for the Club’s 75 th Anniversary. So, fossick through your collections, pick the best and hand into Hec or Gillian at Basecamp, 295 Trafalgar Street by the end of January. Please pass the request on to any former members that you may know. NB. As much as possible please make sure you identify the people, place and date involved in any material, as well as your own details so that anything you provide can be returned to you. NOTICES Possum Control DoC advise that the combination of aerial and ground control in the Cobb/Mt Campbell/Waingaro area, Kahurangi National Park has been completed over an area of some 18000ha. Pre and post monitoring has shown a dramatic reduction in possum, rat, and stoat in the area which will be of immense benefit to the native land snail and mistletoe species in particular, and to all other native flora and fauna in the area in general. Murchison South Tb Vector Control Further control is to take place between 22 December 2008 and late February 2009 in an area extending from the Owen River in the north to Six Mile in the south, and across the Dallows Bluff and includes the farming areas of Longford, Six Mile, Four Rivers Plain and around Murchison township. Warning signs will be in place at access points and remain in place while toxic baits are present. Hints on Safety After 1 February 2009, the only distress beacon frequency monitored by satellite will be 406MHz. This is an important deadline – it may even be the key to survival. The old 121.5MHz and 243MHz Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) won’t generate an alert or give their location after that date, as the satellite system that supports these old beacons will cease to operate. This means that if people get into trouble a 406MHz PLB is their lifeline. Some of the key messages club members should know are: Replace 121.5/243MHz beacons with 406MHz PLBs before 1 February 2009. It is vital that 406MHz beacons are registered with the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ), so that if a distress beacon is activated we can know who is in trouble and how to contact them or a nominated person. 406MHz beacons with inbuilt GPS are strongly recommended, for much greater accuracy. The old 121.5/243MHz beacons need to be disabled by physically disconnecting the batteries. They then need to be disposed of responsibly. Do not purchase a 406MHz beacon from overseas – they don’t have the correct New Zealand identification code. 406MHz beacons can be used worldwide but they must be registered in New Zealand to gain a positive response to any activation. Also on Safety. . . NELSON/MARLBOROUGH CONSERVANCY TRACK INFORMATION. DECEMBER 2008 The following is some information on the current status of tracks in Nelson/Marlborough Conservancy as we work to clear trees and debris that fell onto tracks in Winter’s snow and wind storms. It’s not a full list but provides information on some key tracks and known about problems. The major tracks have now largely been cleared. In Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Parks, Mt Richmond Forest Park and some other areas, there are still fallen trees on some tracks. Most can be negotiated; some may require considerable care. You should allow for trips taking longer – even twice as long in some cases. We are working to clear tracks as best we can and some tracks listed here are in the process of being cleared. We still don’t know what damage there is on some tracks and routes and some tracks may not be able to be cleared for quite some months. We advise you to check with our Nelson and Nelson Lakes Visitors Centres, local DoC offices or appropriate i-SITES for the latest track information before setting out into backcountry areas. They will have our Changes You Need to Know About hut and track information sheet that is updated weekly and it also can be found on the DoC website . Watch out for branches weakened or broken in the storm still hanging in the canopy that could drop onto tracks, particularly in a strong wind. Our thanks to all of you who have reported problems on tracks to us. With such widespread damage across the Conservancy’s track network, it has been great to have your help to find out about affected tracks that need our attention. We’re very grateful that individuals and recreation groups have been so supportive as we’ve tackled the enormous task of clearing tree falls from tracks. Kahurangi National Park Salisbury, Cloustons Mine, Mt Arthur Tableland and Lower JunctionTracks have all been cleared. Pearce Track – track work is completed. Heaphy Track has been cleared. Shakespeare Flat Track should only be tackled by experienced trampers and care is required. Mt Owen tracks – access to Granity Pass Hut via Blue Creek and the ridge leading onto Billies Knob is now clear of windfalls. Access onto Mt Culliford via Nuggety Gorge, Patience Creek and Dog Face Flat is also clear of fallen trees. Wangapeka Track – The e ntire track has now been cleared and the access road between Rolling Junction and Courthouse Flat has been cleared and repaired. On Chummies, Gibbs Route, Kiwi and Stone Tracks trampers will have to negotiate windfalls. It is recommended only experienced trampers attempt Kiwi Track. Martin Rodd’s most recent update has Gibbs and Chummies cleared, but Kiwi Saddle Track not yet cleared. Lost Valley - this track has a slip and windfalls on the Helicopter Hut side; careful negotiation is required. There are also windfalls leading up to the saddle. Karamea/Leslie - windfalls have been cleared from Crow through to Venus, Thor Hut and midway to Trevor Carter Hut. The section from Crow to Karamea Bend and the Leslie Track up onto the tableland has snow/windfall damage but is passable. Kill Devil-Waingaro Loop has windfalls but these are negotiable. Baton Catchment has random windfalls but is passable. Nelson Lakes National Park Tracks in the Sabine, Travers and D’Urville Valleys along with most access tracks to these valleys have been checked and cleared. Some avalanche debris still covers the track in the Sabine Valley and care should be exercised crossing these areas. Lake Rotoroa, Matakitaki Valley and Beeby’s Routes will not be cleared before Christmas. The status of many backcountry routes and tracks in Nelson Lakes remains unknown. Reports we have received indicate that tramping times are sometimes up to double those indicated due to windfall. Care is still needed on alpine passes due to icy conditions in the morning and soft snow during the day. A temporary toilet has been installed at John Tait Hut. A path has now been cleared through the avalanche that came within 10 metres of the hut. Contact the Nelson Lakes Visitor Centre for current track conditions and advice on backcountry travel. Mt Richmond Forest Park Work to clear the following tracks/sites has been completed: Hacket Track cleared. Motueka Gorge - approximately 2 km to the first river crossing cleared and access road repaired. Inwood’s Lookout – the road has been cleared and track access onto Gordon Range has been cleared. Tracks/areas still with problems: Hacket to Starveall Hut Route - approximately 1km of track close to the bushline has been destroyed. It requires careful navigation to negotiate this major windfall event. The remainder of the track has random windfalls along the entire length. Pelorus Track – there are fallen trees between Roebuck Hut and Totara Saddle but it is passable with some difficulty. Wakamarina Track – there are windfalls between Fosters and Devils Creek Hut that are passable. Ben Nevis Track has windfalls but they can be negotiated. The track off the Gordon Range into Hunters Hut has windfalls but they can be negotiated. Top Wairoa Hut through to mid-Wairoa and out to the Wairoa road end has windfalls, especially the top section, but they can be negotiated. Other areas/roads – have been cleared. Nydia Track – windfalls on the track between Nydia and Duncan Bays are passable but it is a bit of a scramble. Archers Track – windfalls and minor slips. Sharlands Creek – the access road remains closed midweek and open to mountain bikers and walkers at the weekend. DoC-managed walks have suffered severe storm damage. The area is closed and will remain so for some time. From DoC: Extracts from Minutes of the Community Forum Nelson Conservancy Office. Wednesday 12 November 2008 . Motueka Area Report . Appletree Bay Campsite has been closed due to coastal erosion over the Winter months. The toilet has been relocated to the northern end of the beach and is now a day visitor site only. Torrent Bay Estuary Campsite has also been closed due to problems removing sewage from this small site. Only ten campsites in total have been lost with the closure of these two sites. Crow Hut replacement is well underway. The new hut will be completed before Christmas. The site of the new Venus Hut has also been cleared in preparation for the construction of a new hut in the New Year. Other capital works planned include a new woodstove for Salisbury Hut, a new toilet at Mt Arthur Hut and a new toilet at the Flora Car Park. A new mountain bike park is being planned for Kaiteriteri Forest. A group of local MTB enthusiasts are driving the project that will ultimately develop the park for local riders with a range of abilities. Graeme Helleur as been employed as the new Didymo Ranger for Summer and will be visiting rivers throughout the district reinforcing the check, clean and dry message with all river users. Nelson Lakes Area Report . Buller Water Conservation Order has been amended giving additional protection to the Black Valley Stream, Gowan and Matiri Rivers. Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project has been recognized internationally as one of the top twenty restoration sites in Australasia by the Ecological Society of Australia and the Society for Ecological International. Three other DoC managed sites to receive recognition are Northern Te Urewera, Mana Island and Fiordland Islands. A new Rotoiti Nature Recovery Strategic Plan 2008-2013 has been produced. As well as maintaining ecological gains to date, the new plan reiterates the principal science, learning, and transfer aspects of DoC’s mainland islands. Community involvement will remain a key objective. The department welcomes any feedback. Vehicle access to Red Hills Hut across Rainbow Station is now no longer available. An application has been put to Transit for a car park to provide alternative access of SH63 a few hundred metres closer to St. Arnaud. This is particularly important as this is part of the Te Araroa Trail. A new snow monitoring tower is being planned for the Upper Sabine as part of a national network being set up by NIWA. The tower will be over six metres tall but will be sited so that it cannot be seen from any of the major walking tracks. The equipment will also be able to monitor weather conditions, rainfall and snow depth for avalanche monitoring purposes. A concession has been publically notified. Black Fronted Terns in the Wairau River continue to be monitored using a remote camera. River levels have been high so far this breeding season which has meant the predators have not been able to access nest sites to the same extent as in previous years. Matiri Dam RMA application hearings have been delayed until early February 2009. DoC is opposing the application and is preparing its submission. NZ Energy has applied for a lease and easement from the Department for the structures on the public conservation land. A first draft determination report has been prepared and sent to the applicants for their comment. The decision maker is the Conservator, and if the Department intends to grant a concession then this will be publically notified. The Nelson Mail reported that Network Tasman has purchased properties in the Matakitaki Valley and Blue Rock area to assess potential for hydro electric generation. A Nelson group have applied for a concession to use the accommodation buildings on the defunct Mt Robert Ski Field. The new use is likely to be outdoor education of some sorts and would be available for groups to book. The Summer road opening season for the Rainbow and Molesworth has been made the same. This will allow drivers to do both journeys if they wish from 28 December to 1 April each year at a cost of $25 for vehicles and $15 for motorcycles. Variation - Kahurangi National Park Plan . Paul Thornton was invited to join the group and gave an update on work on the planned variation to the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan. A map will be produced shortly showing three access zones. One zone will prohibit landing that includes the Tasman Wilderness. One zone will have limited access while the final zone will have more intensive landing in areas around the Karamea River where fishers, hunters and trampers have enjoyed helicopter access in the past. Each of the last two zones will have annual limits as well as monthly limits. One-off permits will also be allowed for major events like cave rescue exercises and rafting trips. The first draft is likely to be released in January 2009 and will include provisions to allow limited mountain biking on the Heaphy Track. Interested parties and the general public will be able to comment on what is being planned. Waimea Estuary Queenie Ballance reported that the latest Godwit research by Rob Schuckard has confirmed that birds from Bells Island and Motueka Sandspit use both sites as feeding grounds. Sadly, bird numbers have halved in the last five years which is causing some alarm with ornithologists who have seen breeding habitat shrink in the Northern Hemisphere. Next meeting : Wednesday 4 March 2009 at 9.30am at Nelson Conservancy Office. Extracts from FMC Newsletter The newly elected National Government has indicated that it will have new policies on the management of conservation lands, RMA management and outdoor recreation. The significance placed on tourism by Prime Minister, John Key, will also have an impact on recreational land management. FMC will be monitoring the new government policies carefully. If FMC Member Clubs, or individual members, have issues that should be raised with the new Government, they should email details to Phil Glasson, St James Station Recreational Planning FMC Executive member, Tony Haddon, and Bulletin Editor, Shaun Barnett, will join other recreational stakeholders for a two day planning meeting in early December 2008 to discuss various options for the St James Station. The former high country station in the headwaters of the Waiau River is also the location of the St James Walkway. It offers excellent tramping and climbing opportunities, including transalpine trips into the Lewis Pass National Reserve, Nelson Lakes National Park and the Molesworth Station Recreational Area. FMC Clubs with ideas to contribute to the plan should contact Tony Haddon through: secretary Molesworth Recreation Plan Reminder FMC encourages members and Clubs to explore the recreational opportunities on Molesworth Station this Summer (e.g. tramping, climbing, camping, mountain biking, kayaking, hunting and fishing). A new management plan will be developed in 2009. We are keen to ensure that your ideas are represented in the recreational section of the plan. Please let us have your views on new opportunities that you would like to have covered by the plan and any access problems that need to be sorted. Send your ideas and comments to secretary Welcome Flat Hot Pools DoC is considering using hot water from the Welcome Flat Hot Pools for heating the nearby hut. While FMC supports the need for the Department to consider energy and cost savings, it also recognises that the pools provide one of the quintessential New Zealand backcountry experiences, savoured by a diverse range of outdoor users. FMC has urged the Department to consult the public before any decisions are made and that any proposal to harness the geothermal energy is accompanied by unequivocal scientific or engineering evidence that the pools will not be affected. Contributions from Club Members I'm after any information regarding routes / route from or around that general location of Roaring Lion Hut and up to Lake Jewel on to Morgan Range - Aorere Saddle and back toward Island Lake. I read of someone doing the circuit but have failed to find anything useful in writing especially regarding Lake Jewel end. Any tips would be appreciated and if anyone is keen to try a wander through this area let me know. Marguerite 548 5944 Editor's Comment On the Trail of Tramping Etiquette This is not a definitive list but a guide to a common sense approach to being out “On the Wild Side” Do not disturb the environment by shouting or playing loud music. People go back to nature for the peace it can offer. In this regard cell phones should only be used for emergencies. So switch off your phone and leave your ghetto blaster at home!! Be environmentally aware. Do not damage any flora and fauna that you may encounter. Do not litter. Take all your waste with you and if you should stumble on somebody else’s waste, be the better person and take it with you. Organic material, though decomposable, should be buried or taken with you to avoid animals or birds feeding on it. All you should leave are your footprints. Urinate at a fair distance from the trail and possible water sources. For bigger ‘contributions’, make sure to dig a hole and then cover up the hole and its contents. If you are going to use soap or detergent for washing yourself or clothes, make sure to do it at least 100 metres from the nearest water source. Use biodegradable products. Stay on the track and do not go wandering off. By using the track, you ensure that you will not further disturb nature and it will minimize the chances of getting lost. If you notice any damage to the track or to signs, make sure to note down the exact location and notify DoC. Damaged or destroyed track or signs can cause serious difficulties for other trampers. If you plan to camp, make sure that you know the local regulations concerning camping and making a fire. Many places will have designated camping/fire areas and it is often illegal to camp or make a fire outside of these designated areas. A guide to hut etiquette will be included in the next newsletter. Contributions and comments to the Editor, Hec Arbuthnott by email fax to 5481710, mail to 10 Wiltshire Place, Stoke or hand in to Basecamp at 295 Trafalgar Street. NELSON . REMINDER: Club members receive a 10% discount from Basecamp, Altitude and Rollo’s.