Those new Great Walks
This thread branched from "Powell and Jumbo hut" on . Explore the branch.
Also on the new Great Walks, I queried DOC about the apparent lack of direct public consultation for where the new Great Walks are going. The process is published at http://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/have-your-say/all-consultations/2017/selecting-new-great-walks/ The public was asked for ideas, but that's about the end of it. An external evaluation panel picks a bunch of the ideas, submitters get to submit a fuller proposal, and then the external evaluation panel chooses between them. According to http://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2018/new-great-walks-initial-submissions/ , the panel is made from FMC, the NZRA, DOC, and FOUR separate tourism entities. (Tourism NZ, NZ Maori Tourism, Air New Zealand and Tourism Industry Aotearoa!) It's not like they can put Great Walks anywhere without at least some people having issues, but IMHO there should at least be an opportunity for the public to submit on the full proposals before the external evaluation panel makes its final decision. When I queried DOC, the response wasn't promising. It reads as if they hadn't really thought of that, or didn't want to think of it, and that at best they'll consider something like it when this happens in future. > As you are aware we have recently run a public engagement process to identify potential walks that could be added to our Great Walks network. This process saw us inviting initial proposals for walks to be assessed by an external independent panel and discussed with iwi. > Community support forms part of the criteria to select new Great Walks and any impact on communities and current walkers will be considered with each application. We hope to invite community feedback to allow members of the public to have their say on potential new walks in the near future. > We are currently working with the new Minister of Conservation to confirm the approach to the next phase, and the timing of further decisions. Once this has been done, the next steps and decisions will be communicated and we will look to invite feedback from the public. If you're concerned about this, and where the Great Walks might be placed by a bunch of tourism entities if others on the panel don't have reason to question it, I think it's important to write to the Minister of Conservation ASAP and express concern that there's no opportunity in the process to comment on the proposals. She's probably the best bet in getting the process adapted to enable more public input.
tourist bodies have their finger in the pie, what would they know about the problems of locating great walks, they will want them where they are easily accessible to the public, local businesses will be pro great walks because of extra business, local trampers should have a major say, its going to impact them the most and they are the biggest users of the area... the reality is great walks make it worse for locals to access the area with all the restrictions in place, frankly i think there should be no rules for locals, if you can present proof you reside in the area you should be allowed to camp where you like at least and there should be a quota of bunks for locals.... question is how much will the higher fees for foreigners affect the no's of foreigners on the tracks.. wouldnt surprise me if it doesnt affect them that much, it will just be fewer families and youth groups with the free to children being removed. most people on great walks are adults. i did a lot of trips into the areas where the tararua tracks are proposed when i was a poor teenager,,, having great walks there would have limited where i could stay at night. the proposed tracks are on some of the major access points to the tararuas... making it harder to use them to get further access into the Tararuas... I think it will be fairly disruptive and unpopular for locals...
It will get like the Milford was. A tourist hut with hot showers licenced bar etc and 200 meters up the track a freedom (for the plebs) hut wich will be a replica of a 6 bunk forest service Totora flats had 33 on Saturday night so already that needs to be doubled in size Add great walk users and may double that again
one of the guided walking companies is trying to get private huts on the Kepler. and a shelter put next to Lake howden on the Routeburn , then the question is how many more places will the private companies try and piggy back on great walks to establish their hotels in the bush.. huts that are serviced by helicopters.. when the weather is too bad to walk, thn the helicopters ferry the guided walkers .. i'd advocate some sort of protest if DOC try to move into tracks that are popular with the locals. coming to a location near you, your favourite local track taken over by a walk for foreign tourists., the parks are becoming not much more than a tourist resource.
Mmm, wide variety of submissions http://www.doc.govt.nz/pagefiles/176339/great-walks-proposals.pdf Some are only day walks, Tarawera trail for instance, and why it needs to become a great walk, god only knows. I'd hope the Greenstone/Caples doesn't become one, though given the massive track improvements on the Caples side since I last walked and closure of two huts (one on each valley) plus upgrade of the other huts, it wouldn't be a surprise. It would however make it v costly combining Routeburn with either, and reduce off cuff tramping opportunities in the area, as GWs are often booked weeks in advance. On same basis Ruapehu Round the Mountain would again limit opportunities for locals. Given the almost total ban on the Waitakeres recently announced I'd guess the Hilary Trail can be discounted (off topic, but it would be wise here to say what actually is open, as I recall besides the beach walk sections in Waitakeres, only sections on pasture land are likely to be open - in NZ there's very limited access on any private land, even wide gravel roads almost always have large 'private keep out signs). Best we can hope would be Hump Ridge Track which is already a private walk, and Akoroa Walk which I think is likewise. On the other hand if they were to actually build new huts/tracks, then something in the Coromandel would be neat, as opportunities near Auckland for longer tramps offer slim pickings.
A further link, https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/destinations/nz/101140224/fiordlands-humpridge-track-scores-high-as-potential-new-great-walk On the basis of the below quote from Doc director of tourism, I'd hope both Greenstone/Caples and Rees/Dart should be safe, and nice to see no submissions in original list for the Nelson Lakes area. *from above link..* > '.....DOC director of tourism recreation and heritage Gavin Walker said they would work with the new Minister of Conservation before further decisions. > They would then consider which submissions would be taken further in the process. > "These need to rate highly against our selection criteria and offer New Zealand the greatest benefits from being including in the Great Walk network." > Walker said they wanted to thank everyone who took the time to make a submission. > DOC received an extensive spread of ideas, split between 20 walk in the North Island and 10 in the South Island, he said. > The existing Great Walks were some of New Zealand's most popular and well-known visitor experiences, he said. > Walker said new Great Walks would also showcase lesser-visited parts of the country. > **"We also want to give New Zealanders Great Walks options closer to home and at quieter times of the year."** .....'
Does anyone remember when Great Walks were about DOC improving the management system for stuff that was already highly popular for other reasons? Lately it seems to be about manufacturing experiences for the tourism industry.
i read somewhere were focusing on building more infrastructure closer to the main population centres.. that worries me. that indicates places like the tararuas could be higher on the priority list. frankly if that includes putting a great walk in, they should build a new track altogether and leave the established ones with the locals alone. they are causing more problems than they are creating and only catering to the tourist market... the conservation element in DOC should have total power of veto over tracks they dont think should be put in. tourism has completely different priorities to conservation and local recreational people. great walks arent able to expand to fill demand either, the hut and camp sizes remain static. great walks have increased the popularity of some areas causing overloading of surrounding tracks, often people turn up not knowing they have to book in advance to secure a place then go and overload a nearby track. meanwhile other tracks get closed and DOC talks about potentially removing huts that dont get enough use, when the overall demand on huts is higher than ever and increasing. I dont doubt, FMC will be vocal but there are so many groups with tourism interests who are in on the decision making as well... how will they decide in the end between differences of opinion?
Well.. a problem with making a new track in the Tararua is that no matter where it goes, you'll probably be trampling on top of someone's favourite, relatively isolated off-track adventure. Especially if the intent is to make it a golden tourism magnet.
DOC have only just called for submissions - being ideas for ideas for locations for new great walks. Very early days. At the speed at which things get done in DOC (I worked there for 6.5 years) nothing will happen quickly. Also nothing changes the fact that DOC still has very limited funding - and track formation and hut building (especially for Great Walks) are hugely expensive. We are probably talking 5-7 years before anything reaches a usable standard. My thoughts are that a few ideas will get put forward, and then DOC will narrow this down to 1-2 options, and most probably call for further submissions on those ideas before anything happens. I think a new great walk will constitute a fairly substantial amendment to the relevant management plan or regional CMS, and changes to those documents needs to be done using due process. I cant imagine that the Tararuas will be high on this list. Great Walk tracks need to be constructed to a very high standard - and doing this in the ruas will be difficult and expensive. I think DOC likes the idea of having this area more as a "local treasure" for locals, requiring very little investment from them, including with huts & track maintenance. I think they would prefer to leave this area untouched. Plus, they have the advantage of many community groups doing their work for them. The Tararuas are a huge place - if DOC do anything in there, it may as well be the Field-Kime hut route - which is already State Highway 1 as far as I'm concerned. I think there are many other more attractive options in the NI including the Ruahines (easier to develop tracks there too). Plus I cant see many tourism operators (apart from maybe heli operators) jumping up and down to establish more of a commercial presence in these hills. If there was another vested interest pushing the ruas hard (like iwi for example) then I would be concerned, but I would be surprised if anyone is doing this. Regarding any "lack of community say", note that groups like FMC are always fairly vocal at many of these submission processes, however it always pisses me off how FMC assume in their submissions that they "represent all outdoor enthusiasts in NZ." That always seemed like a huge and erroneous assumption.
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