Is it time to ban alcohol at DOC huts?
It sounds draconian, but bad behaviour at huts where alcohol is being consumed is on the increase. The stories emerging via social media of drunken anti-social behaviour is just appalling. And ruining the experience for others. Since when is "six to seven 24-packs" acceptable in a public hut shared by others including kids? There is no way to police what goes on in these remote places. People are left to deal with yobbos having a night on the booze. A glass of wine with friends is of course fine, or a tipple of whiskey but who is going to supervise what is reasonable... Backcountry huts aren't pubs and shouldn't be treated as such. "Bad behaviour a cause for concern in Fiordland" http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1711/S00233/bad-behaviour-a-cause-for-concern-in-fiordland.htm "Jet boater hits back at DOC accusations" http://www2.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=11942789
YYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS huts need to be family friendly as well as socialble places for those not wanting to put up with unsociable loud behaviour, most people in tramping huts want peace and quiet in the mountains... yeah you can tent instead, but we shouldnt be driven out of huts by the minority ruining it for the majority
Alcohol use was one of the drivers behind the booking system on Powel hut etc. In that case they walked in carrying there beer with them. Of course rowdy and drunk is up to perception of the observer so how much is acceptable. I know Im more tolerant than a lot of people but really the least tolerant is the one whos going to be most upset by this carry on. How do you stop it? All recreation clubs have a code of practice that is enforced when a complaint is received. I have been party to 2 investigations one by the tramping club which was decided as unfounded and the other in the 4wd club resulted in 3 people losing membership. The problem is though the sheer number of private individuals who are not part of clubs or even internet groups such as this. Its still 99% know and follow the rules but how do you educate the other 1%? 50 years ago that 1% might of been 5 or 6 people across the country on any weekend now its 100s Maybe large lodge type huts in highly accessable areas need to be on a booking system.
"huts need to be family friendly " -is the key, IMO most hut users taking a drink into the hills behave fine. bit heavy drinking in a family environment is unacceptable How its enforced, I have know idea it has to be a culture change, that its not acceptable Clubs can play a role there. reinforcing a now booze policy right now, its accepted among many groups. I like a wine before a meal same as anyone. Most obvious offenders are hunters, who fly in. Local helicopter ferried a load of booze for 4 hunters Tarn Ridge hut - Tararuas, while I was walking in. found out after ringing the pilot, wondered why so many trips, so I headed back out and went to alpha (a no flyin hut) So trampers carry spirits/wine and manage to get inebriated, which is just as bad
I've met a few climbers and trampers who carry a small flask of spirits with them. They are usually discreet about it and the purpose is obviously to have a relaxing swig at the end of the day, not get plastered. I'm all for a nominal ban but it's unlikely to stop flask carriers. As for publicly or easily accessible huts which are likely to attract families then a ban needs to be made known to all concerned so it acts as a deterrent and hopefully becomes self policing. Another factor is the litter they often leave. I was in the upper Waimak a couple of weeks ago and popped into the loo at Anti-Crow and found a black rubbish bag hidden behind a fallen tree by the toilets. It was filled with empty bottles of whiskey & beer along with food and biscuit wrappers. According to the visitors book there was a stag party and it doesn't take an Einstein to work out who the rubbish belonged to. I hope your stag do went well ANDREW!! If they carried them in full why couldn't they carry out the empties???? I'm back up there in a couple of weeks so I'm planning to take my big pack in with enough space to carry it out. Why should others have to pick up after these scum?
unfortunately some can completely ruin it for the ones who are sensible. you can live without booze in the bush... banning it makes it black and white, no exceptions, if you want a swig from a hip flask so beit, but people shouldnt be allowed to get away with getting drunk in public huts, you cant do it in other family friendly places so has to be stopped in DOC huts, just puts people off tramping...
It's yet another symptom of NZ's "in order to relax and/or have fun I must get hammered" booze culture. These people plan their lives around the next chance to get pissed, and nothing short of an outright ban (with enforcement) will stop them doing it. Sad, but true.
If you and your mates are going to have a hut party (been there done that once or twice) ... either pick a private hut, one that you know will be unused, or take lots of tents so as you have your own space away from everyone else. Cos getting loaded, noisy and in other people's faces in a public hut is just NOT on. Never. It's not the alcohol that's the issue, it's the behaviour. (A discreet relaxing sundowner isn't even going to be noticed much less cause a problem.) If I ran into that scenario I'd have no hesitation letting them know that I was unhappy about what was happening and they needed to think about other people. And then make a report to the police when I got out, if I thought it warranted. And what hutck said too. DoC need to make it clear that loutish behaviour around huts is going to be passed onto the police if a complaint is made.
Ummm, reality check. It's already illegal to be creating a public nuisance, alcohol/drug fuelled or not. An additional ban on anti-social behaviour (or snoring) in huts would make no difference. The law is unenforcable in the absence of police. In the event of particularly egregious behavior (eg threatening behaviour) and if you can identify the culprits, you would have something the police could work with. Criminal damage, too, would be persued, I think, but littering and drunken noisy behaviour, as frustrating as it is, would be low priority for follow-up. However, if you have identities and witneses, you might at least generate a police visit to the culprits.
I enjoy a nice hut cooked meal with wine at the end of the day but could just as easily forgo it. The alcohol itself isnt the issue although it is often a contributing factor in any antisocial activity. That argument stands fast when compared to statements that guns dont kill people. Then there is the use of other substances near huts. Ive smelt dope on more than a few occasions and Im subject to random drug tests. Already illegal (today anyway) but makes little difference
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