Good RNZ Interview
"A backcountry expert is calling for a fundamental rethink at the Department of Conservation - away from a focus overseas visitors, towards better serving growing numbers of New Zealanders getting into outdoor recreation. Peter Wilson is on the board of the Back Country Trust, a former President and current board member of Federated Mountain Clubs, on the board of the Awakino Ski Field and a life member of the Otago University Tramping Club. He says it's great that increasing numbers of New Zealanders are out exploring their own backyard, but the Conservation Department needs to change its focus accordingly. Peter talks with Kathryn, along with Department of Conservation Director of Heritage and Visitors Steve Taylor, and Dr Stephen Espiner, who is leading a Lincoln University study into how lockdown has affected New Zealanders' outdoor recreation and domestic tourism." https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018772958/calls-for-doc-to-refocus-on-backyard-recreation Well worth a listen. Peter Wilson is especially good.
@dreambroom we do have expansive designated wilderness areas with no structures of any kind. Not just shelter, but no bridges or other development either. I think it is a balance between having areas such as these where those who wish can have an immersive wilderness experience while also offering plenty of options for those who do not mind the "comfort" of a hut (or bridge!). We have always been a country that has encouraged anyone who would like to enjoy the great outdoors the opportunity to experience it in a safe (as much as it is possible) manor. Providing the infrastructure we have allows this access for many people who would not otherwise be able to experience the outdoors.
a lot of the backcountry huts were originally put in place for deer cullers as well as trampers
I was just thinking about this yesterday. I was travelling down a stream and there was the occasional single stone put on a boulder to either mark a good ford or to carry on on this side of the stream. They've only just been put there by the looks of it. I thought about marking the shortcuts through the beech forest with some orange cruise tape but then thought, nah. Too alien and intrusive. Even the little rocks on boulders were superfluous as it's not that hard to figure out when to cross and when to carry on. More satisfying using your noggin too rather than the paint by numbers approach.
Some people need those markers. They should be put at the waters edge though so they disappear when the stream comes up to an uncrossable amount.
@Dodgydave I guess it depends what we mean by expansive wilderness. The most "isolated" point in New Zealand (on the mainland islands), measured in distance from buildings, is near doubtful sound and is about 29km away from the nearest building. But that's pretty isolated! It'd be hard work getting there But, relative to nearly everywhere in the culturally western world, we're very lucky with how much in-tact wilderness we have. I am pretty satiated with what we do have - though I feel we have more than enough "easy" access to enough places that we don't need to keep creating new infrastructure. @waynowski That's a good point, easy to forget that a lot of our infrastructure was utilitarian before it was for recreational.
Well measuring anything as the bird flies from a single structure is never going to o come up with a huge number mainly because we are a tiny country. Go for a walk through there and I am sure it will feel plenty like wilderness.
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