A couple of weeks ago we visited Penn Creek Hut, and I noted in my trip report that there were a couple of leaks in the hut. Well, like a good little tramper I flicked an email to the Department of Conservation when we arrived back in Wellington to let them know, hoping that perhaps someone would add it to their list of things to expect next time a maintenance team was in the area. I’ve had mixed reception when reporting this kind of thing in the past (such as this time), probably depending on a lot of things such as how busy the office is, how important the issue sounds, and how much I might appear to be a pedantic troublemaker who’s exaggerating a problem.
Anyway, within a short time my email had made it to the Visitor Asset Manager at the Kapiti Area Office, who responded immediately to let me know that they were onto it, and to try and confirm some more details of what the exact problem was, and offering some hypotheses about possibly lifted lap joints around the skylight. I was impressed, but I was really impressed when I received another email a few days later saying they’d visited Penn Creek Hut for a look, letting me know what the problem was and indicating some plans to re-roof the hut next spring.
DOC often gets criticised for all sorts of reasons, especially being such a big department with so many responsibilities to so many people, many of whom have conflicting interests. It’s great to get responses like this though, I think, which just demonstrate that underneath it all there are still a lot of really great people whose main job and interest is to keep things running well.