All Doc tracks damaged in July deluge

Department of Conservation recreation, historic and biodiversity ranger Shay van der Hurk at the start of the track to Tunnel Beach in Dunedin. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
Department of Conservation recreation, historic and biodiversity ranger Shay van der Hurk at the start of the track to Tunnel Beach in Dunedin. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

The storm damage to Department of Conservation tracks in Dunedin is the most extensive a ranger has seen.

Department of Conservation recreation, historic and biodiversity ranger Shay van der Hurk said all of the 50 tracks Doc managed in Dunedin were damaged during the deluge on July 21 and 22, when more than 100mm of rain fell on many areas.

He had worked for Doc since 2008 and it was the most tracks damaged by a single weather event in Dunedin.

Most tracks had been repaired and were deemed safe but two tracks had "considerable damage''.

The swollen Taieri River eroded about 40m of Outram Glen Track, he said.

The track had been repaired "to a reasonable standard''.

Before the storm, the department recommended people wear sneakers to walk the track but since it reopened the recommended footwear had been upgraded to hiking boots.

The swollen river had exposed bedrock, meaning trampers had to climb down 3m and across a section of boulders, he said.

Further repair work, including the use of a contractor and digger, would make it easier to navigate the track, he said.

Damage to the Outram Glen to Lee Stream walking track caused by the floods in July. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Damage to the Outram Glen to Lee Stream walking track caused by the floods in July. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The Mapoutahi Track at Purakaunui remained closed, as the piles of a structure on the track were "twisted'' and awaited repair.

The difficult access to the "steep'' site was stalling the repair work, he said.

The department was working with the Kati Huirapa ki Puketeraki runaka on a repair plan, including the possible rerouting of the track.

More people were using Doc tracks in Dunedin than before, especially in summer.

"Which is really cool because it means more people spending time in nature, which is proven to be incredibly good for your health.''

The Doc track at Tunnel Beach was expected to be used 90,000 times this year, he said.

The Doc website - doc.govt.nz - has information on the status of tracks.

SHAWN.MCAVINUE @thestar.co.nz

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