posted on the TA facebook page
Te Araroa - New Zealand's Trail
Admin · Yesterday at 8:37pm
This may be "preaching to the converted" however TAT has fielded a few complaints the last few weeks as a number of walkers move through the South Island.
The most critical point is Mt Linton Station in Southland - the station manager is really at his wits end managing walkers leaving the marked route and doing as they please. He is now taking the step of trespassing any walker found off the marked route, and requiring them to leave the property immediately by the way which they came.
This follows a long period of frustration and TAT fully supports his actions - the only other course of action would be having Mt Linton withdrawing their agreement for access and that would have a far more significant impact on Te Araroa.
The station manager is a really top man who has done an enormous amount to support Te Araroa, however he has a job to do and it is being compromised by the time he's having to spend sorting out disruptions. Last month a full day of crutching was lost due to a gate being left open and a mob of sheep relocating - we cant even begin to imagine to cost and annoyance of that happening.
The other location is Mt Hay Station adjacent to Lake Tekapo, at the southern end of the Two Thumb Track. Once you cross Boundary Stream the trail/road is flanked by private land and camping is not welcomed - particularly evidence of toileting and fires.
Please make sure you camp on DOC land prior to Boundary Stream, or continue through to Lake Tekapo Village.
99% of walkers do a great job of respecting landowners and ensuring continued goodwill towards Te Araroa, however a small minority are eroding this goodwill and putting future experiences at risk.
Please don't hesitate to call these people out - their ignorance threatens the enjoyment of others, and it completely undermines the hours of work put in by Te Araroa volunteers making these routes happen.
Please, please - show some awareness and consideration of what is going on around the Trail and act accordingly. It is disappointing to need to post messages such as this.
The comment thread underneath is interesting. Clearly there are some people just getting lost and straying off the track inadvertently. If this is happening repeatedly and causing the landowner problems ... the solution is to ensure the track notes and markers are rock-solid idiot-proof.
What is way less acceptable seems to be the few who're camping, leaving gates open and flouting clear rules, whether intentionally or just not paying enough attention, who cause the land managers grief.
In any large group there will always be a small minority of outliers who don't conform to expectations. The TAT people really need to think how to mitigate the problems that will inevitably arise.
there was an earlier unhappy post by the admin about walkers using personal huts near the TA that the trail notes said not to use, cant recall if the huts might have been broken into.
it was also turning landowners against TA walkers
Gates should be an easy solution. Pin code locks and styes over the correct fences but even then I would of expected a trail such as this to be well marked. Maybe those heading north have an excuse as they wont of done much track finding but those heading south will have been trail fnding for weeks and should be pretty good at it. Lets face it if they cant find a marked trail across a paddock how are they going to manage the alpine sections.
As for camping in the wrong place its obviously well signposted.
Might as give up and just reroute TA down SH1
I wouldn't rush to judgement geeves. I can recall several embarrassing moments when I well and truly 'strayed' from the correct route over quite open and easy farmland.
On alpine sections there usually aren't too many choices, and most of the time the correct one becomes obvious pretty damn quick. Farmland has the opposite character... too many decision points and if you get it wrong it's not always clear.
Especially if the track doesn't follow a natural line and has been routed oddly to suit the farmer's purposes and not the walker's instincts.
This post has been edited by the author on 14 February 2018 at 09:07.
More signage might help but there are always those that ignore signs possibly because they cant read them. If its tourists we have a lot of tourists whos english is way below enough to follow an instruction board. Is the signage multilingual?
Well one commenter on the FB page describes the Mt Linton track as "an abomination that goes all over the place with no rhyme or reason". I can imagine how that might have something to do with it.
Clearly there is a problem here for everybody involved. As I mentioned above, in any large group there will always be a few at the margins who get it wrong, either unintentionally, due to mis-timing, mis-understanding, poor weather, bad judgement, or just didn't give a shit. Posts to FB, better signage, education, etc will all help, but never eliminate every problem.
But ultimately whatever is going on here at Mt Linton it seems anytime something goes wrong it's causing the land manager stress. Time to step back and re-think the solution.
This post has been edited by the author on 14 February 2018 at 10:22.