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Keep the security guards out of the mountains

2 December 2010

The Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand are very disappointed in the recommendation of regional Coroner Richard McElrea to restrict access to the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers in the wake of the tragedy that befell the Miranda family of Melbourne.

“It is a tragedy that two young people were killed while out enjoying New Zealand’s beautiful landscape” said Federated Mountain Clubs President Richard Davies. “However, the response to this should not be a knee-jerk, simplistic recommendation to close-off access.”

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that the Fox and Franz Josef are wild landscapes in a National Park. They are much beloved by climbers, skiers and trampers as well as tourists” said Mr Davies. “They are beloved because they are wild. This natural landscape is no place for steel barriers and security guards.”

“Anyone who chooses to visit New Zealand’s wild places – even those close to the car – need to be aware of hazards. The Department of Conservation provides education and information about the hazards in popular locations, and they need to be listened to. Guiding companies are also a good option for those who don’t have the skills or experience to judge the hazards in places like this” said Mr Davies.

“Hundreds of thousands of people visit New Zealand’s conservation lands to enjoy the landscapes, and an experience that is different from what you’ll find in the city. In some popular places, including the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, hazards are already fenced off to ensure people’s safety. We can’t keep building bigger fences.”

ENDS

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