Camping near Great Walks...
In an idle hour this evening I was perusing the Freedom Camping Act 2011 on the Legislation Gov NZ website - yes, I know there must have been other 'interesting' things I could be doing instead... Anyway, everybody seems to talk about a 500m freedom camping restriction near Great Walks. But the latest version of the legislation says 200m: "In this Act, freedom camp means to camp (other than at a camping ground) within 200 m of a motor vehicle accessible area or the mean low-water springs line of any sea or harbour, or on or within 200 m of a formed road or a Great Walks Track" see here: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2011/0061/latest/DLM3742849.html And the Freedom Camping Bill has this: "In this Act, freedom camp means to camp (other than at a camping ground) within [1 km of a formed road, a]* 200 m of a motor vehicle accessible area, or the mean low-water springs line of any sea or harbour, [or within 500 m of on]* or within 200 m of a formed road or a Great Walks Track" see here: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2011/0306/latest/DLM3742849.html * denotes a strikethrough in the Bill, but the forum doesn't allow that font. I've not heard the distances had changed. Is this common knowledge that I'm not aware of? Or are there specific bylaws covering this? Don't get me wrong, I'm not interested in doing Great Walks for free but I do have long terms plans for Lake Wilson and other routes nearby great walks.
Try the relevant National Park bylaws. E.g. For Milford, Routeburn, Kepler track: Fiordland National Park Bylaws 1981 Conditions on access to certain places (1)Any person may have access to— (a)the Kepler track and all land within 500 metres on either side of that track: (b)the Milford track and all land within 500 metres on either side of that track: (c)the Routeburn track and all land within 500 metres on either side of that track: (d)the area within 100 metres radius of any hut: (e)any emergency shelter— subject to the conditions in subclause (2). (2)No person shall camp in any place or part of any place listed in subclause (1) unless— (a)that place or that part of the place is a camping site; or (b)that place is an emergency shelter and that person is camping in that shelter in an emergency. Bylaw 5A: inserted, on 2 January 1997, by bylaw 3 of the Fiordland National Park Bylaws 1981, Amendment No 1 (SR 1996/358).
Thanks Madpom. Odd though that the latest versions of both the Freedom Camping Act and the Freedom Camping Bill state that camping is allowed within 200m of a great walk - with the changes in the Bill showing a reduction from 500m to 200m being left in but struck through to emphasise the change.
Yes - puzzling. You'd think they'd try and line up all the legislation. I checked Aspiring, Kahurangi, Abel Tasman and Fiordland NP bylaws, which all state 500m. There may be bits of the great walks not within the National Parks, where the 200m rule would apply.
Great Walks and National Parks have the rules set by Doc. The tighter option will apply if rules conflict
I"ve spoken to people who have stealth camped along the great walks, they didnt see why they should pay the fees or couldnt get bookings, and none of them bothered with the distance rules, they just hid themselves out of sight of the track in places where they didnt have go 200m or more from the track to do so. people have stayed in the emergency shelters when it wasnt an emergency, but DOC are more likely to check the shelters now. they arent well ventilated and teh potential for carbon monoxide poisoning is there.. rangers dont go trolling through the forests looking for people within 500m of the track its impractical. but they will check known places where people have broken the rules that are easy enough to access. the forest is so thick in places you wouldnt have to be 50 metres of the track to be hidden and the terrain can hide you closer to the track in places...
The irony of the term 'freedom' camping whilst hiding in thick bush scared of being apprehended by someone for wanting to camp for free in Mother Nature. And before they pipe in . Yes I know why these rules are in place. But one funny thing is. You can't camp for free because of the strain that this puts on the bush through shear numbers involved. Yet the money charged to camp or stay in said bush, is not invested in protecting the bush it's self. But in developing more infrastructure in the bush which puts pressure on it as well, ie tracks toilets huts etc. What a load of absolute rubbishy DOC has become. Papatuanuku Is big money for large parts of this country.
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