New route around landslide lake

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 05:00 14/01/2014
Dart River
JOHN EDENS/FairfaxNZ

BUSH TREK: The 3km-long lake in the Dart Valley. Sandy Bluff and the landslide can be seen in the background. The planned track detour will traverse dense bush and steep terrain on the left.

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The Rees-Dart track will reopen to trampers by the end of this month following a massive landslide that blocked the Dart Valley.

Department of Conservation rangers completed a survey of a new route around the landslide and lake that was formed by the slip on January 4.

Senior conservation services ranger Richard Kennett yesterday said an alternative route was marked above the lake on its eastern edge before leading trampers around Sandy Bluff on the existing track.

The track then descended to the eastern bank of the river, where work was needed because the landslide made the Dart erode the banks.

Mr Kennett said the track would be basic.

"While we will endeavour to clear the vegetation it will be very rough and muddy underfoot. It will not be passable in wet weather as it crosses several streams that will quickly flood during heavy rain, becoming hazardous for trampers to cross."

The rough track meant an extra one to two hours' walking on top of the standard time from Daleys Flat hut to Chinaman's Bluff, usually 3 to 5 hours.

"Work for the track realignment will commence shortly and is expected to take up to two weeks to complete. Until the new track is completed the Dart Valley track between Bedford Stream and Daleys Flat hut remains closed."

Work was dependent on weather and the department planned to monitor the new section during summer before embarking on any improvements during winter.

The Rees-Dart track near Glenorchy is virtually impassable from south of Sandy Bluff for more than 3km to Dredge Flat after the Slip Stream, a well-known unstable region on the true right of the valley, where large volumes of rock and sludge-like silt were deposited into the river about 10km north of Chinaman's Bluff.

 

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- Southland

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