Not wishing to put words in @airway spies mouth ... but if we are going to have companies volunteering to maintain huts then they are probably going to be more interested in doing so in places their customers visit or have heard of ...
Fair enough if it means the doc money that would ve spent on that hut gets spent elsewhere on other doc facilities. Not so good if it just gets 'saved'.
I'm sorry that this outcome has come as a bit of a disappointment for some and I can understand that it may seem counterproductive to start with a project so close to home when there are so many huts being left in further out areas without anyone maintaining them. The biggest factor for us is that we want this to be a long term commitment eventually involving multiple huts in a variety of locations both near and remote. The logistics of being able to take our office team to a location and home again in a day means we can throw a lot of man power at a project and people who have family commitments etc have the opportunity to get involved with this first stage.
Whether our customers ever hear about this is really of little concern to me at this stage, I just saw an opportunity with the fund that has recently been set up and wanted to do something that would benefit the local tramping community (of which I am a part of). As for DOC, so far my interactions with them have been really positive so I have to give them the benefit of the doubt that any money saved will be diverted to other areas of need.
DOC are looking for volunteer upkeep of nearly all huts, locally. Includes very high use huts like Totara flats.
While I have my concerns regarding DOCs obligations to maintain at least "core" huts, can understand if a group simply want to maintain one of these huts. it would be hoped, the saved $$ were redistributed to other huts, but how that happens is not transparent
A lot of "core" huts are already under volunteer agreements. Including 7 or so our exNZFS group manage
I say go for it, if it gets people interested in the backcountry. Maybe businesses will sponsor volunteer groups more, if they get a better appreciation of what is being in volunteer track/hut upkeep
At the end of the day you should do what works best for you, its not your fault for the bias that has gone on as to the location of huts that are receiving maintenance. It's not going to be a perfect process for everyone. trampers have been spoilt for choice for decades and the condition of back country huts has declined in a lot of places because of withdrawal of govt resources. its harder for people to get to the back country now as well with so many people having to work longer hours, having shorter weekends, and students having to work more to make ends meet.
a maintained hut is beneficial almost regardless of where it is.
Are there any restrictions to the public once a hut is "adopted and taken over for maintenance"? I saw a thread on Facebook that suggested the status may change to give the responsible group discretion over who uses it. I may have interpreted this incorrectly however.
thats ironic DOC insist they pay fees, they give their free time to do what DOC used to do and cant do themselves anymore in places from lack of funding, and others turn around and use the huts for free and the ones who made it all possible have to pay.
i'd heard organisations were reluctant to take on maintaining huts because of the contract they had to sign with DOC which locked them in to committing to do a minimum amount of maintenance and there were also liability issues