Saturday, April 13, 2024

Track wardens take their marks

Paparoa Track hut wardens are preparing to hit their stride tomorrow as peak track use time begins.

There are three huts on the 55km shared walking and cycling track which runs between Blackball and Punakaiki across the Paparoa Ranges.

From October through to the end of April, each hut has a warden in place, DOC said in a statement today.

Working eight day on, six day off rotations, two wardens will call each the huts home over the coming months.

James Russell (Ngāti Waewae) who hails from Wainuiomata in Wellington, is returning to Pororari Hut for a second season.

“It’s magical, I just love it up there, I can’t imagine doing anything else”, he says.

When James isn’t there, Alex Malcolm will be on duty. Originally from Auckland, Alex grew up in Vanuatu but has most recently been living in Fiordland.

On the tops at the Moonlight Hut, Jared Horsfall from Tairāwhiti will be spending his first season on the track. While the location is new for him, warden work isn’t as he has previously worked as a ranger at Tongariro National Park.

Jared’s Moonlight counterpart is Bronnie Fechney from Christchurch who will be spending her third summer as a Paparoa hut warden.

Rachel Bruce, from Maruia, will be in residence at Ces Clarke where she also was last summer.  During winter Rachel worked at Moonlight and Ces Clarke huts.

The wardens have spent the past fortnight training with Greymouth DOC staff. This has included getting familiar with the stories of the track and the environment it passes through, so they can share their knowledge with track users.

The track huts are already heavily booked for the season, which is the third since it opened. Between 6,000-7,000 people are using the track each year. 

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