After a hiatus, there is now a deluge of management plan reviews underway public conservation land, which will in the next couple of years include the majority of the South Island’s National Parks.
FMC Vice-President Jan Finlayson recently led our submission on the first of these, for the Paparoa National Park. See the submission here: Paparoa NPMP Submission
To characterise the submission, it politely requests a lack of fluff and that the resolve inherent in both the National Parks Act and General Policy be given effect to by the plan. The National Parks Act has objects more enduring than DOC’s latest corporate vision or generic references to community development. They are to be preserved “in perpetuity as national parks, for their intrinsic worth and for the benefit, use, and enjoyment of the public”.
FMC supports the acknowledgement of Tangata Whenua, the recognition of their values and the giving effect to their role as Treaty Partners. This should be independent of, and certainly not at the expense of, later history of the area. The lack of recognition provided to organisations such as the Native Forest Action Council and FMC who worked to establish the Park should be addressed. An understanding of this history gives a perspective on why the boundaries of the Park need to be further widened, which should also be included as a goal in the plan.
FMC is very supportive of community involvement in conservation and recreation on public conservation land. We have demonstrated that through our active commitment to the Outdoor Recreation Consortium. However, community input must be the icing on the cake and build upon the core functions undertaken by the Department of Conservation. Clear, committing targets for the operations of the Department of Conservation must be set.
FMC wants to see improved facilities for recreationalists in Paparoa National Park. The process around the development of Pike 29 is worrisome, very much driven by central government with minimal regard to conservation planning or community guardians (such as the New Zealand Conservation Authority). That said, FMC does not have any appetite in its Executive, or membership, to protest the process in the face of general excitement about the creation of the recreational opportunity. FMC is asking that existing recreational opportunities are also given attention and a hut is suggested for the Inland Pack track. FMC is also seeking less stringent rules around the placement of fixed anchors for climbing, canyoning and caving than originally proposed.