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625 km of new track for conservation land

Thu, 21 Oct 2004

625 km of new track to be built on conservation land

DOC revamps and reorganises New Zealand's hut and track network

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New tracks stretching for a total of 625 kilometres will be constructed around the country under a new 10-year plan for recreation on conservation land, Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today.

The plan is the result of a review of recreational facilities, such as huts, tracks and campsites, managed by the Department of Conservation. It follows a government decision to set aside an extra $349 million over 10 years to fund the revamping and reorganisation of those facilities into a network that more effectively meets modern needs.

"Our backcountry recreation assets have developed incrementally over generations. Many are now out of kilter with what people today do on conservation land, and just as importantly, what they are likely to do in the future," Mr Carter said.

"Because of the significance of conservation land in New Zealand as a playground for families, and as a magnet for international tourists, it is vital we properly align the mix of facilities offered in these areas with changes in use.

"DOC's Recreational Opportunities Review has been about looking at what we have, what we don't have, and what we don't need," Mr Carter said.

"Extensive public consultation has taken place around the country on initial proposals in this review, with almost 1500 individuals and groups having a say, and substantial changes occurring to proposals.

"The outcome is a final plan, released today, under which the managed track network in New Zealand will grow to a total of 12,900km. About 625km of new track will be gradually built, and another 435km phased out," Mr Carter said.

"This expansion could not be achieved without the involvement of numerous communities around the country, which are likely to take on the management of up to 390km of track themselves, under the guidance of DOC.

"Similar changes will take place to the provision of huts with a number being removed within two years, new ones being built and others being upgraded and enlarged," Mr Carter said.

"In all cases, DOC has sought to balance the needs of traditional tramping and mountaineering groups with the need to control and respond to skyrocketing demand from tourists and new, predominantly urban users of conservation land, Mr Carter said.

For more information on plans for the network visit www.doc.govt.nz

ENDS

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