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Monday, April 15, 2024
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Shelter has a shaky future after rat infestation found

Rats have reportedly taken residence in a hut located on the Dobson Loop Track in Tararua Forest Park, forcing it to close.

The Department of Conservation [DoC] Wairarapa operations manager Kathy Houkamau said a member of the public had advised the agency that they had seen rats at the Smith Creek shelter, but there was uncertainty about how many they saw.

DoC has since laid rat bait and gave the shelter a deep clean earlier this month.

Houkamau said the open shelter is located in an environment where there is a rat population, so it is not unexpected to find them dwelling in it, especially because visitors leave rubbish and food that attracts them.

Because of its proximity to the end of a road, DoC has also had ongoing issues with unsociable behaviour and vandalism on the part of humans.

DoC is aware there is no glass in any of the windows and does not intend to replace it.

Houkamau said DoC has chosen not to fix the shelter and removing it altogether “due to persistent vandalism” is one solution that’s up for consideration.

The shelter was built in 1983 and has become increasingly dilapidated over time, she said.

“Smith Creek shelter is not intended for overnight visitors,” she said.

“Despite the huts closure, trampers can absolutely still use the track.”

Tutuwai Hut is approximately 2.5 hours walk from the shelter and about 4.5 hours walk from the Marchant Rd end of the track.

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