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Gondola Be Gone!

March 5, 2004 - Dunedin
MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Gondola Be Gone!

News that Ngai Tahu and Sky Line Enterprises plan to proceed with a Gondola up the Caples Valley, crossing the Routeburn and Greenstone tracks to Milford, has shocked the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.

Society Spokeswoman Sue Maturin said the idea is offensive to thousands of New Zealanders, who treasure these natural unspoilt places. The proposal would involve taking hordes of tourists along a road up the remote Caples Valley, entertaining them at a terminus building and ferrying them above the forest canopy, over the Greenstone track into Fiordland National Park.

Part of the magic of the Caples Valley is that it is one of New Zealand's most easily accessible routes into the mountains, suitable for young and old and beginner trampers. It is the ordinary kiwis' Routeburn Track".

"The Gondola is not a benign, silent, invisible thing. The original proposal involved building a new road into the Caples valley. Who would want to walk beside a major highway with a constant stream of noisy buses zooming past, let alone climb up to the Mckellar Saddle to watch a gondola swish by?"

Sue Maturin said that since the announcement yesterday her office has been inundated with callers pledging their support, including offers of money to help the Society launch a campaign.

ENDS


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