FMC launched our ‘Outdoor Community’ campaign in 2015 to identify and enhance the diverse array of recreational pursuits that member clubs and individuals are passionate about. The campaign identifies a pursuit annually that, “takes place in the same environment as tramping and shares the ethos of exploration, companionship and appreciation of nature”, and make its development a priority for FMC over a July – June period. The emerging pursuit of canyoning, the sport of chasms and ravines, was identified as the targeted pursuit for 2015/2016, the pursuit of Adventure Navigation, spanning competitive tramping through rogaining to adventure racing has been chosen for 2016/2017.
The specific support depends on the circumstances. Possible actions include: assisting with the formalisation, governance and management of organisations, providing promotional or safety related material, building the capacity of affiliated clubs to undertake the pursuit, articles in the FMC Bulletin and other media to encourage participation and advocacy on behalf of the pursuit with DOC and other government agencies.
The ‘Outdoor Community’ campaign will also serve to foster the next generation of kiwi outdoors people. Outdoor pursuits on the edge of normal inspire younger adventurers with a thirst for exploration. Young people, especially the young leaders of tomorrrow’s outdoors community, want to go somewhere, or try something, that hasn’t been done before. This should be encouraged and supported with appropriate mentoring and training.
After looking at several possibilities, and after agreement with local enthusiasts, canyoning was chosen as the targeted pursuit for 2015/2016.
The simple premise of canyoning is descending streams by the best means possible. The level of difficulty ranges from easy (walkable) to extreme (committing multi-pitch descents in the full force of water). At the easier end of the spectrum it is an activity undertaken by people with tramping skills at the most difficult end the skills used are transferable from caving and white water kayaking or specific to the sport.
While canyoning has been happening in New Zealand for some time, much activity has had a commercial basis and the development of recreational canyoning has yet to fulfil its potential. There are already canyoning opportunities identified and established throughout New Zealand, but there is a huge opportunity for exploration, provided canyoners ensure they have a solid base of skills and experience before taking on too much.
FMC was able to help with the establishment of the New Zealand Canyoning Association, contribute to the printing costs of Daniel Clearwater’s New Zealand Canyoning Guide (through the FMC Trust), promote canyoning through the FMC Bulletin and other media, see a bolting fund for introductory canyons and offer Canyoning Leader Scholarships for the 2015/2016 summer season. The scholarships were designed to encourage and develop competence in recreational canyoners that lead, or intend to lead, recreational canyoning trips. 9 Scholarships were granted to individuals from a range of affiliated clubs. Check out this video of the course attended by Canterbury University Tramping Club’s Ashley Stewart.
Adventure Navigation 2016/2017
Adventure Navigation covers a spectrum of activities, all of which are characterized by moving through unknown terrain with an eye to a challenge or competition. They range from competitive tramping, or hut bagging activities, through to organized rogaining and adventure racing activities. An example of an adventure navigation activity are challenges that clubs run to visit as many huts as possible in their local ranges in a defined time period.
- Further writing and promotion of the “Outdoor Community” concept, with specific reference to adventure navigation and canyoning, as well as tramping as a foundational skill for all other outdoor activities.
- Establishment of an Adventure Navigation facebook group, in collaboration with the New Zealand Rogaining Association, to create a communication channel for this dispersed community (which is currently lacking) and a way to connect with them.
- Development of our relationship with the NZ Rogaining Association (FMC Affiliated Club), with a particular focus on how they bridge the urban/rural divide and telling more stories in that regard.
- An investigation of whether FMC should consider a trip/event database as a service both to existing clubs (promoting their activities) and the adventure navigation community.
- The promotion of Adventure Navigation activities, through the FMC Bulletin, our nascent In the Mountains project and our other communication channels as a way for trampers/tramping clubs to: provide interesting challenges locally for their members, improve navigation skills – particularly off-track and to attract new members.
- To deliberately challenge thinking within FMC and the Outdoor Community as to the place of competitive and/or organized outdoor recreation.
- Highlight CUTC’s TWALK as a successful Adventure Navigation event.
How you can help
- Let us know your ideas for how FMC could grow Adventure Navigation.
- Join the Adventure Navigation NZ facebook group.
- Encourage your club to run Adventure Navigation challenges or have a go yourself.