Remutaka Ridge Track Proposal
The trip along the ridge from South Saddle to Kotumu has always been a popular TTC trip. It was slow and difficult due to masses of windfalls, but now it is almost impassable due to thick patches of grasses like toitoi that have grown since 1080 operations began. The idea of cutting and marking a track was first proposed by a TTC member in the late 1980's, but at that stage DOC would not give its approval. We think the ridge is a wonderful tramp with great views and it is right on Wellington's doorstep. With a marked track in place it would become a popular expedition, comparable to the Jumbo-Holdsworth circuit in terms of popularity and challenge. So we have been working towards making the track a reality.
The map shows the proposed track. The track follows the crest of the ridge from South Saddle to Kotumu, a distance of 7km. Two tracks already give access to the northern end of the ridge near South Saddle (Mt Matthews track and a marked track up Goat Spur). Our plan includes three additional access tracks, a track up the spur on the true left of Browns Stream, a track up Paua Ridge leading to Tapokopoko, and a track up a spur on the true right of Red Rock Stream. This will make it easy to plan short trips as well as long ones. For example a day trip from Catchpool carpark could be done in only 6 hours if doing a short section of the ridge. Starting from a hut in Orongorongo Valley a ridge trip could be anything from 4 hours to a couple of days walk with a camp on top of Tapokopoko.
Any track will need DOC approval. There should be no trouble getting DOC's agreement so long as the plan follows all DOC protocols including a plan for future maintenance. DOC's Senior Ranger is willing to help us write the plan.
In December, Bush to Sea contractors (Levin) did a survey of the ridge at our request, and sent us a quote for $95K for the complete track, cutting and marking. Most of this cost would be for chainsawing through windfalls. It is possible that the cost could be reduced if the easier tasks such as cutting back soft vegetation and marking are done by volunteers.
The high cost implies a need for fund raising and getting support from other tramping clubs. Setting up a charitable trust would make it easier to get support from other clubs and raise funds from agencies such as Lotteries. We wouldn't be re-inventing the wheel by doing this. Auckland Tramping Club formed the Kaimai Ridge Trust with the aim of making a track along Kaimai Ridge and doing up some of the huts. They asked other tramping clubs in the Thames and Bay of Plenty areas to join up, and they have raised funds and volunteers. Their project is going ahead – see http://kaimairidgeway.nz/
Our proposal is for TTC to form a trust – the Remutaka Ridge Trust, reach an agreement with DOC, and ask other tramping clubs to join. The trust would do all the fund raising and finding volunteers and organising them. There would be no need for TTC to finance the project apart from setting up the trust. Any TTC contribution to the costs would be an option to be looked at later.
The Remutaka Ridge is part of Wellington's tramping heritage and could become a wonderful addition to the city's list of attractions.
We need the support of TTC members to push ahead with this idea. Please
- fill in the form; or
- send us an email with your own comments -> mailto:ttc-survey [snail] ttc [period] org [period] nz.
Please take a moment to do this. Its worth it!