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Thumbs up for better visitor facilities

21 October 2004

Thumbs up for better visitor facilities

The public has given the thumbs up to plans to improve visitor facilities on conservation land around Auckland, said Department of Conservation Auckland Conservator Rob McCallum.

This response is reflected in the results of a nation-wide review of DOC managed recreational facilities, released today.

Mr McCallum said there was a high level of support for proposals to upgrade tracks, campsites, car parks and toilets on lands managed by DOC in the Auckland region.

"More than two thirds of submitters supported the proposals we released last year for maintaining and upgrading visitor facilities."

"It is heartening to see such a positive response from people and keenness to get out there and enjoy public conservation areas."

Feedback from recreation users also resulted in a re-think about some tracks and facilities, plus some good ideas for developing new opportunities, which will be further consulted on, said Mr McCallum.

Tracks at Logues Bush (east of Wellsford), Mt William Walkway (south of the Bombay Hills) and Vinings Walkway (south of Hunua) will now all be retained because of demand by local trampers, as will the popular Awana campsite on Great Barrier.

A new opportunity for tramping and multi-day kayak trips around the remote northern Great Barrier Te Paparahi conservation area will be created with new backcountry campsites and tracks. The tramping network in the central Great Barrier forest area will also be enhanced with new tracks, two new huts and a new campsite.

Other new proposals include a campsite at Wreck Bay on Rangitoto Island to enhance sea kayaking opportunities in the inner Hauraki Gulf, and allowing bicycles on roads on Rangitoto and Motutapu islands.

There are also a number of new proposals to upgrade facilities for disabled access - at North Head, Fort Takapuna, Miranda, Leigh marine reserve, and on Rangitoto, Tiritiri Matangi and Great Barrier islands, among other areas.

In all there are some 80 proposals to maintain, upgrade and develop new visitor facilities on conservation lands around Auckland over the next ten years. A summary of outcomes of the visitor facility review for the Auckland Conservancy is available from your local DOC office and can be viewed online at www.doc.govt.nz .

The review of recreational facilities managed by DOC, such as huts, tracks and campsites, follows a Government decision to set aside an extra $349 million over 10 years to fund the revamping and reorganisation of these facilities into a network that more effectively meets modern needs.

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


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