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Policies 2017-07-21T22:36:27+00:00

Policies

FMC has developed policies on various matters. Those that have been confirmed are detailed below:


Access

1. Basic FMC principle is that all New Zealanders should have free and uninhibited rights of access to all public land.

2. Where land under other tenure (eg pastoral leasehold) separates public land from public access (eg road end), then provision should be made for the public to gain access to the public land. Where pastoral lease land is being considered for tenure review, it is important that public foot (and mountain bike and perhaps horse) access is provided across the new freehold to the conservation land

3. Consideration should be given to vehicle access, to provide access to the new conservation lands coming through tenure review, and to provide safe parking.

4. Although pastoral leaseholders can control trespass because they are occupiers, they only have grazing rights “rights to undisturbed possession and some conditional land improvement activities” and the land itself remains Crown Land.

5. Legally surveyed road alignments are public rights of way whether or not a road formation exists: these “paper roads” are available for use by the public.

6. Queens Chain, Marginal Strips, and Esplanade Reserves. Traditionally a one-chain (20m) wide access way has been provided in many areas around coasts, lake shores and rivers or streams wider than 3m. These do not universally exist, or in other cases have been lost to practical use due to erosion or changes in river courses. Under the Conservation Amendment Act, and the Resource Management Act the situation has changed and strips may be laid off at the time of subdivision, and must be laid off at the time of tenure review.
Confirmed pre 2008
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Aerial 1080

1. Introduced pests pose a serious existential threat to our environment, particularly our forests and bird-life.

2. The quality of outdoor recreation experiences is reduced by the current state of our back-country – ravaged and silent.

3. Aerial 1080 is the best tool to control bird predators in the back-country. We support the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s position that we are lucky to have it.

4. Federated Mountain Clubs will promote the use of 1080 for predator control and supports an urgent and dramatic increase in aerial 1080 operations in our backcountry.

5. 1080 must be applied with the appropriate methodology to reduce unwanted by-kill of non-target species, such as kea. For certain areas, this may include addition of deer repellent.

6. Long term aerial 1080 operational plans are needed to provide certainty to, and get support from, potentially negatively affected groups.

7. Scientific investigation of pest control must continue, both the monitoring of aerial 1080 operations and the development of alternatives.

 

confirmed August 2014

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Aircraft

1. In many back country areas FMC opposes the use of aircraft for access (fixed wing, helicopter and microlite) because of their intrusion into natural quiet, and the need for landing facilities (permanent airstrips, and helicopter landing pads). These are intrusions into the nature of wilderness and remote areas, and devalue the back country experience in many other areas.

2. FMC however, recognises that in certain circumstances the use of aircraft is necessary (for example SAR work, wild animal control etc.) and provides access for recreation. FMC makes allowances for recreational hunting which uses aircraft widely, for example in the Kaimanawas or Stewart Island. FMC recognises the need to balance the use of air access for the control of wild animal numbers through recreational hunting, but still to limit the disturbance to others such as trampers and climbers.

3. FMC should support and encourage the development of regional air access strategy plans when making submissions. At the moment it is difficult to assess total activities within regions and therefore impossible to respond consistently to applications for concessions to conduct tourist and recreational air travel.

4. FMC favours a minimum height ceiling for aircraft in National Parks and elsewhere in the back country where noise pollution can be a problem. The ceiling should be considerably higher than the general 500 ft limit.

5. Aircraft overflight regulations may be changed in the future and FMC supports a change which would allow the control of overflight for “any reason in the public interest”.

6. When concessions are granted for aircraft landings on conservation land, conditions should be attached which specify preferred flight paths.

7. Heliskiing is becoming increasingly popular and inevitably involves air access into some high country areas. FMC considers that only restricted areas should available for heliskiing, where disturbance to other users would be minimal, and that in general these should be outside National Parks.

Confirmed pre 2008

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Commercial Activities

Commercial activities on public conservation lands are allowed for under the Conservation Act and are known as concessions or permits, depending on the activity.

1. Commercial activities primarily exist to allow recreationalists, visitors and others to better enjoy public conservation lands and conservation; as such concessionaires play an important role in the back country.
2. The profit motive for any concession must be subservient to the above objective. Commercial use of public conservation lands is a privilege and is not a right.
3. Most recreationalists, tourists and the public expect a natural experience in our backcountry. In general, any commercial activities should respect the social contract that implicitly has been agreed between the different groups using public conservation lands, respecting each groups’ definition of, identification with, and enjoyment of the ‘wilderness’ they expect to enjoy.
4. There is a hierarchy, that is explicit in s6(e) of the Conservation Act: (in descending order) conservation, recreation then tourism. Just because the boundaries between these categories will always be unclear is no reason to not recognise this hierarchy wherever possible.
5. Wherever possible, commercial activities should take place outside of national parks and those places special to recreationalists. Where commercial activities take place within public conservation land they should never involve the exclusive use of areas and public facilities.
6. Wilderness areas have special intrinsic values, which mean that aircraft landings cannot be tolerated there and over-flights must be kept to an absolute minimum. FMC’s policies on wilderness apply at all times.
7. Statutory management plans have been developed through public consultation; the plans are best regarded as representing a negotiated settlement between all the parties, and so amending or disregarding statutory plans without recourse to wider public consultation infringes on democracy.
8. Any concession should pay its way so that all costs are recovered by the Department of Conservation. The Department should police those concessions to ensure that concessionaires are always operating within their concessions, and the costs for this should be borne by the concessionaire.
9. The carrying capacity of any site should be limited so that:
a. The level at which the impact on the biodiversity and conservation values remains acceptable, noting that any development or activity will create some impact.
b. Social crowding at the site, or surrounding area does not unacceptably interfere with people’s enjoyment, noting that New Zealand outdoor users will have a lower tolerance to social crowding to those from more congested environments.
c. Any infrastructure can support the activities without augmentation, or that any new infrastructure will not affect the previous two limits.
10. The Department of Conservation should consult with FMC on any matters dealing with huts, tracks and air access on public conservation land.

Confirmed February 2016

 

DOC Funding

There is a general concern throughout New Zealand regarding the reduction of funding for the Department of Conservation, despite rapid increases and demands from both recreation and tourism, and the overwhelming need to better protect New Zealand’s natural ecosystems from introduced pests and development.

As a response to the reduced, or at least capped funding, many schemes for raising further revenue to fund conservation have been suggested and investigated. These include increasing land swaps, reducing the regulation of concessionaires, access charging, differential charging, congestion charging and funding conservation through a hypothecated border tax.

FMC Position:

  1. FMC supports increased funding for the Department of Conservation, particularly at the local “hands-on” level and for landscape scale pest control.
  2. FMC thinks that as a core public service the Department of Conservation should be funded by ‘Vote Conservation’
  3. FMC notes that some of the extra funding required could be available from the extra GST revenue derived from increasing tourism spending, both domestic and international.
  4. FMC is agreeable to a border tax, on the basis that it is an efficient mechanism for collecting revenue, but does not believe border taxes would lead to increased funding for conservation in the medium to long term. They may be better to support local council tourism infrastructure
  5. FMC is against any charges for access to public conservation land, including charges to use tracks, or bridges.
  6. FMC is against any differential charging for non-locals or non-residents on the basis that may be inefficient and intrusive to a welcoming culture.
  7. FMC is against any Conservation law reform designed to alienate public conservation land to increase revenue or to allow damage caused by concession activity to be allowed and off-set, rather than prevented.
  8. FMC is prepared to consider vehicular traffic management strategies, including carparking and congestion charges, on a case by case basis, though considers there are other means to manage supply and demand through infrastructure, marketing, transport and the network of recreational opportunities.

Confirmed November 2016

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Huts and Booking Systems

Introduction
FMC does not believe that booking systems can be looked at in isolation from wider issues such as the place of huts in recreation and regulatory standards for huts.

The role of huts in recreation
Facilities such as huts shape demand, they don’t just respond to demand. FMC is therefore concerned that the focus appears to have shifted to limiting use for comfort in a hut rather than managing crowding of the mountains and impacts on the mountains.

The cycle of upgrading the standard of a hut (and thus the cost), then increasing the prices (rational response to increased cost) which then changes the expectations of those staying in huts needs to be avoided.

This cycle can lead to a standard of accommodation that is more like urban backpackers accommodation (eg Mueller hut). By charging accordingly people now expecting a bunk for their money (again, this is a rational and predictable response).

Further, the development and hardening of tracks means that there is no real environmental limit to the numbers that can walk a track (eg Heaphy). This means that the limit is now the number of bunks will provided along the track.

Where this leaves us is that we now have the carrying capacity of the hut driving the rationing, not the environment. This concerns FMC, because it leads to a place where public-private partnerships or straight out private provision of huts could be seen as an attractive way to boost capacity, again with no focus on the environmental carrying capacity of the mountains. FMC considers that this will lead to an exclusion of ordinary trampers on those tracks, and a diversion of funding into expensive huts and staffing and managing Private Public Partnerships. It means that access to a place is effectively limited for all groups in order to maintain an artificial experience for one group (comfort seekers). As a practical example of this, look at the example of the Milford track. Originally, it was commercial walkers only. After vigorous campaigns by FMC and others we achieved the ability to ‘freedom walk’ the track. This has now morphed into booked and relatively expensive DoC huts plus some very expensive commercial ones. Relatively few young New Zealander’s now walk the ‘finest walk in the world’.

Crowding and booking
The tradition of “squeezing in” is an old one and makes more efficient use of capital assets (huts). With the short seasons we have in New Zealand, the ability to provide bunks for the very peak is not there and never will be. Variable capacity is recognised in design – the sleeping platform was designed for just this.
There is a sense of community in huts when people don’t have exclusivity. As we have outlined above, we have to be very careful not to limit access for everyone, in order to preserve the standard for one group. Present surveying techniques exacerbate this and may exaggerate perceived problems, as there is a selection bias towards the ‘comfort seeker’ demographic. FMC does not think that building bigger huts is the answer. At the moment bigger huts are built rather than accepting some lower standard on peak periods (eg new Waihohonu hut). What we are ending up with are quite high environmental impacts due to large scale building, high costs of capital in buildings and operating costs in hut wardens etc and yet more pressure to increase charges.

FMC preferred approach to management

As we outlined at the start, it is too narrow to just look at this issue as a straight trade-off between more capital expenditure (bigger huts) or systems for reserving bunks. It would help to be more clear in different places about what the huts are for – are they shelter from storms or are they booked holiday baches. We may need to look at whether we need more different standards of huts in the same area. But keep in mind, that the decisions over huts and tracks will shape demand, it is not as simple as just responding to existing demand.

Principles for hut booking
1. We recognise that booking systems are entrenched on “magnet”, high profile tracks such as Great Walks, as a tool to manage the quality of visitor experience.

2. Booking systems should only operate when occupancy rates require it. This could include limiting bookings to weekends at some sites at some times of the year. For example, it may be that a hut needs bookings on Saturdays from late November to mid December, all nights from then to late February, & then weekends till late April, with no bookings over winter. As an example, we understand that the huts on Abel Tasman are getting very little use over winter now that the summer fee is applied in winter too.

3. Huts should not be moved into a booking system to increase revenue. Hut fees should not be increased significantly because of a booking system. Prices should be nationally linked to service levels/cost of provision.

4. Booking should be avoided at huts that, as well as being on easy routes, are key points/junctions on longer and/or more challenging routes. Angelus & Dart Huts are examples. If booking is required, consideration should be given to leaving a certain portion of the bunks in these huts for “first in first served”, and emergency situations.

5. The hut pass is the most efficient system, rather than night tickets, and this should be the centre of the system.

5. Any huts in the booking system shall have a Warden’s quarters and will have a resident warden in the period the hut is on the booking system. Booking of the hut should not be linked to locking the hut (although we recognise the Orongorongo valley as a special case).

6. Hut wardens should be required to not impose penalty rates for unbooked people where they are satisfied that the party had reasonably intended to be at another location and/or at that location on a different on different night but was prevented from doing so by safety considerations (weather, injury). This is the case for kayakers in campsites at Abel Tasman. We think that ‘wardens guidelines’ could assist here and would be happy to work with DoC on some.

7. The intention to shift a hut from the unbooked system into the booking system be advised to FMC at least 4 months beforehand so that comments can be sought from local clubs which will be affected by the switch. We would also like to see evidence of the problem. We must be careful that a few ‘squeaky wheels’ (particularly from people with little experience of NZ backcountry culture) don’t influence booking decisions.

Hut passes and fee setting

FMC considers that paying for huts through an annual pass is more efficient and more desirable than a per night fee. We consider this should remain at the heart of the system. We are concerned that the value of the AHP is being eroded, and if people cease to buy them, the impact will fall unduly on unbooked, basic facilities.
1. The hut pass should provide value at all DoC huts where per-bunk fees apply (we have excluded locked huts eg the Orongorongo valley from this).

2. Outside the Great Walks, our preference is for the hut fee to be the same for booked and non-booked huts. If that is the case, the Annual BCHP would provide a 100% discount when booking.

3. The Online Booking system should be modified to recognise an Annual BCHP and provide a 100% discount for non GW Hut and a 10% Discount on GW Huts for holders of AHP.

4. Welcome Flat and Mueller Hut should be returned to the AHP system forthwith. Neither is booked. Calling Mueller an alpine hut does not reflect the reality of its usage. The DoC & NZAC co-managed huts in the West Matukituki (Aspiring & French Ridge, & perhaps Cascade, which isn’t co-managed) be available at NZAC rates to AHP holders.

5. FMC asks that there be a corresponding discount of 30% to FMC members applied to the 6 month AHP. (The present Discount on the Annual Hut Pass is 30%).

Confirmed October 2011

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Hydro Power

Principled selective opposition and principled selective acceptance

1. FMC will take no position on schemes located outside FMC’s geographical areas of interest.

2. FMC will take a strong position opposing any new schemes in national, conservation or forest parks.

3. FMC may identify other areas where hydro development would be particularly obnoxious.

4. Keep free of development recreational areas close to large population centres. Recognise that this runs counter to the minimisation of line loss.

5. In general, oppose large schemes but bear in mind, in some circumstances, one large scheme can poentitally be less damaging than a series of small ones.

6. In general, favour small schemes over large ones but weigh up the impact carefully in each case.

7. Identify mitigating features

– Small reservoirs
– Minimise long-term effects on landscape
– Avoiding or minimising the impact of access roads
– Concealing built features – e.g., penstocks
– Undergrounding or minimising visual impact of transmission lines
– Adding recreational opportunities as part of scheme – tracks and huts

Confirmed March 2009

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Mountain Bikes

1. FMC supports mountain biking as a low impact recreational activity on appropriately zoned public tracks.

2. FMC advocates that a ROS planning approach to mountain biking opportunities be used in Management Strategies and Plans.

3. FMC supports public participation in mountain bike access decisions made by land managers. As part of this process FMC will, in consultation with member clubs, make submissions stating its perception of the appropriateness of mountain bike access on individual tracks.

1. Present Context

FMC acknowledges that there is a variety of attitudes and opinions on mountain biking within its member clubs over the appropriateness of mountain biking on various tracks within the recreation estate. At present, mountain bikes are excluded from National Parks and certain other protected areas except on formed and maintained roads. However DOC and regional and local authorities have made many tracks available to mountain biking. FMC is fully supportive of the present process of publicly advertising appropriate tracks for mountain biking on public lands.

2. Appropriateness

There are four major considerations in determining the appropriateness of mountain bike access:-

• Impact on ecological values.

Depending on track design, soils, rainfall and amount of mountain bike use the physical impact can range from severe (especially on peaty soils) to minimal (eg dry clays). In better situations mountain biking would tend to have a similar impact to walking.

• Conflict with other users.

This is a complex social issue involving perceived as well as real conflicts. In determining appropriateness for mountain bike use a survey of other users of tracks should be conducted by the land manager. Popular walking tracks where a high proportion of users have high perceptions of conflict would need careful consideration before being opened to bikes. Biking opportunities should as far as possible be segregated from walking and tramping opportunities so as to minimise social conflicts. User values which are in conflict with mountain bike use include solitude, sense of space and remoteness, missing out on beds in huts and fear of being knocked down. The land manager should monitor the level and types of conflict which occur and, where necessary, use appropriate management strategies to minimise conflicts. (See 4. Access Management Policies)

• Physical impact on tracks.

The following factors should be taken into account when assessing the appropriateness of tracks for mountain bike access: Soil and track surface characteristics. Where characterised by high water retention (eq pakihi), low soil strength (eq pumice) and low rates of soil recovery, damage may be accelerated. In particular, tyre tracks encourage water to channel down tracks. These effects can be partially mitigated by improved track design and construction techniques. Other elements of track design may justify consideration of access management policies. Things such as track width (a minimum of 80 cm wide to allow for safe passing once slowed, and to prevent rutting), drainage, track composition, and gradient (only tracks less than 20 degrees are suitable to minimise the risk of damage from skidding; tracks over 30 degrees are generally unsuitable for mountain bike use)

• The purpose for which the land has been set aside.

FMC advocates for conservation management strategies and management plans to include specific recreational mountain bike policies that recognise the issues identified above.

3. Track Appropriateness Classification

FMC recommends four broad categories of appropriateness for mountain bike on public lands zoned Urban, Urban Fringe, Rural and Back Country in the ROS:-

• Non-Compatible.

Tracks where, after consideration of ecological, physical and social impacts, no mountain bike access is permitted. Tracks may be beyond or nearing existing carrying capacity because of high use by other users, poor design (drainage, location, track composition, gradient, obstacles), inherently inappropriate and fragile soil types.

• Conditionally Compatible.

Tracks where, after consideration of ecological, physical and social impacts, conditional mountain bike access is permitted. These tracks may be characterised by medium or high-peak pedestrian use, benched walking tracks, a wide range of age groups of existing users, portions of the track vulnerable to erosion or factors such as track width and restricted visibility. These considerations may necessitate some conditions being placed on mountain bike access (Refer Point 4 below).

• Compatible.

Tracks where, after consideration of ecological, physical and social impacts, unrestricted mountain bike access is permitted. Compatible tracks are likely to include; some low use consolidated walking tracks, old formed and paper roads, 4WD tracks, fire breaks, forestry roads.

• Mountain Bike Priority.

Tracks where, after consideration of ecological, physical and social impacts, mountain bikes have priority use. Such tracks would be unpopular with walkers because of track condition or uninteresting scenery. Walkers would be warned of the risk from mountain bikes. Four wheel drive vehicles and trail bikes would be banned or limited so bikes have right of way.

4. Access Management Policies

To keep ecological, social and physical impacts to an acceptable level flexible management policies may need to be adopted.

Conditions for Use may include:-

• limits on numbers of bikers
• limit mountain bikes to off peak, seasonal, defined hours or intermittent access (eg. week on, week off)
• one way traffic
• compulsory portage over erosion prone sections
• wet weather restrictions
• speed restrictions (these have been tried overseas and are difficult to enforce)
• Bike only sections of track (eg for speed/excitement/risk)

Physical Management may include:-

• increased signage to encourage courtesy and safe riding practices
• improved track drainage
• vegetation control for visibility and safe track width
• mountain bike specific track maintenance (eg. track hardening or stabilisation on steeper sections)
• use of obstacles/difficulty/sharp corners to control speed
• track working bees using volunteer labour

FMC opposes charging for mountain bike access to public lands.

5. Rider Responsibility

FMC supports the NZMBA Mountain Bikers’ Off-Road Code and will promote it along with the more general Environmental Care Code.

Confirmed pre 2008

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National Parks

1. FMC generally follows the “General Policy for National Parks” published by the former National Parks and reserves Authority in 1983. The former NPRA has been superseded by the NZ Conservation Authority. No new general policy has yet been defined.

2. Grazing: NPRA policy in 1978 was

“The progressive reduction in number and size of areas used for grazing will be sought with the aim of eventually eliminating such use.”

This was revised in 1983 as follows:

“Grazing is not considered to be in keeping with the primary purpose of the (National Parks) Act to preserve national parks as far as possible in their natural state. However, there are areas within parks which have been grazed for many years, some areas traditionally and others for management purposes, and the management plan may make provision for grazing under specified terms and conditions.”

FMC is of the view that grazing use is generally contrary to the primary purpose of national parks, and should be phased out according to 1978 NPRA Policy. Rare exceptions might include the use of grazing management for vegetation control, but not just because of tradition.

3. Mining in National Parks: FMC, like the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, is opposed to mining activity in National Parks. The law does not currently prohibit mining prospecting, exploration, or development in national parks, but because mining will almost certainly destroy some of the values National Parks are intended to protect, actual mining development would rarely if ever be approved. Consequently, the granting of permits for prospecting and/or exploration seems somewhat pointless.

4. Note that because the law does not presently prohibit mining in National Parks it is not permissable for Management Plans to explicitly state that mining is prohibited within any National Park.

5. Mountain bikes are not presently allowed in National Parks except on formed roads. This is because they are defined as “vehicles”. This may change when the General Policy for National Parks is reviewed. (Refer to Mountain Bike Policy)

Management Plans

6. Basic FMC principle in management planning is that there should be provision for all kinds of recreational users to “do their thing” with minimal conflict of interest with other users of the resource, and minimal impact upon natural resources themselves.

7. This is best achieved using the concepts of the Recreational Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) which makes provision for a wide range of experiences, such as: Wilderness, Remote, Natural, Popular, or Cultural experiences.

8. It is not always necessary to provide for all kinds of experience in any one area, other areas can be considered in the provision of complementary opportunities.

9. Management plans should clearly explain how the various kinds of experiences described above will be provided for. They should also explain how potentially conflicting interests will be minimised.

10. “Development” (ie huts, walks, airstrips, mechanised access etc.) should be minimised in natural areas. Facilities should not be provided unless there is a real need.

11. Account should be taken of current use, and usage densities.

12. Some people prefer minimal use and minimal facilities, as in wilderness and remote areas. These should be catered for. FMC is one of the few organisations that advocate for them.

13. FMC believes that economic development (eg mining, new roads, hydro-electric dams, communication structures, gondolas, etc) should be kept outside public conservation lands wherever possible.

14. Utility structures should be sited to achieve minimal visual impact.

Confirmed pre 2008

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Old Ghost Road

Read the full text here.

1. The 80 km OGR links Lyell to Seddonville and is administered by a  community Trust. It represents a high-cost, and potentially high-value, recreational facility on conservation land. The funding to date of ca $3.6M is almost exclusively public or SOE monies. DOC, voluntary and other contributions from the Buller community are also significant. The project is not directly linked with existing statutory plans, except through the Management Agreement with DOC.

2. FMC has never actively opposed the OGR project but has  consistently expressed reservations about putting an intermediate grade MTB trail through this high class conservation land. Most
important was initially the vulnerability of the route down the S.Mokihinui River and is now the loss of wilderness and landscape values for the revised route across the Lyell range. The construction of the trail from Lyell Saddle to Ghost Lake has inevitably confirmed  these concerns.

3. The Trust has acted in good faith during the construction phase and kept broadly to the terms of the Management Agreement and EEA documents. There are some obvious lapses in the details of the management of environmental effects in various places, e.g. track width, down slope debris, tree felling. However, these have not been of over-riding concern to DOC whose Westport staff are responsible for auditing the construction. DOC continues to support the Trust in their efforts to complete a high quality multi-use trail.

4. Overall, whilst FMC regrets the loss of values outlined in 2) and 3) above, the project is very much a ‘done deal’. The OGR does make more accessible some beautiful and historic NZ backcountry.

5. The four new huts built by the Trust are of a high standard and will be key elements in the popularity of the OGR.

6. There are considerable risks that DOC will become the funder of last resort for completion and maintenance of the OGR. Avoiding this will require the Trust to find funding from alternative sources.

7. The role of CMSs in the brave new world of ‘Conservation for Prosperity’ needs clarifying. The interpretation of CMSs has become very subjective and prone to influences not considered adequately in their drafting (economics; lobbying by special interest groups; politics). A particular issue for the West Coast CMS is the very broad classification zone ‘back country remote’ which can prevent effective protection of some high value conservation land.

Confirmed July 2013

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Off-Road Vehicles

1. Where there is likely to be conflict with conservation values, and/or with foot recreational users (eg in the back country) FMC opposes the use of Off-Road Vehicles (4 wheel drive, trail bikes and beach buggies) because of their disturbance of natural quiet, and their physical effect on the environment.

2. FMC however, recognises that the use of off-road vehicles is legitimate in some circumstances and requires provision in the context of Recreational Opportunity Spectrum planning. The key to successful implementation of ROS planning is to segregate conflicting interests, while allowing compatible activities to take place in close proximity to each other.

3. Much of the problem associated with off-road vehicles comes from indiscriminate driving by a minority sector of the public. A positive approach to this problem would be better education. The minimum impact code should be widened. “Keep to formed tracks.”

Confirmed pre 2008

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Walkways

1. Walkways differ from other tracks in the outdoors in that they usually include some traverse across privately owned land. Most other tracks are on public lands.

2. Because of private land ownership, some temporary closure (eg for lambing) and other restrictions (eg Firearms) is acceptable, provided it is “reasonable” for the case in question. However, FMC advocates that access should be unencumbered where this is possible.

3. Walkway classification – walk, track, route, should be explained and indicated as appropriate (see Walkways Act).

4. Walkways may use old unformed/unused legal roads with the co-operation of the owning local body.

5. Promote adequate funding for formation and maintenance of walkways. Walkways should not necessarily be argued as a special case, but rather as a part of the whole recreation spectrum. DOC should be encouraged to rank recreation (including Walkways) higher in priority for funding. This could include reference to DOC responsibilities to “foster recreation” under its governing Acts.

6. Cite Walkways achievements in providing for recreation functions eg:

• They are frequently heavily used and represent relatively low cost per user.
• They are intermediary in ROS between “urban” and “wild” opportunities.
• Cultural/historical interpretation is important on many walkways.

7. Encourage the DOC Conservator, and Regional Councils and District Councils to appoint one officer to have ‘Walkways’ as part of his responsibility.

8. Encourage the setting up of a “Friends of the Walkways” or other volunteer support group in each Conservancy.

9. Promote co-operation between adjacent conservancies regarding walkways that are (or will) extend beyond one district into another. Walkways should be seen in a national rather than local perspective.

10. Advocate the establishment of walkways under the NZ Walkways Act as a means of enhancing and diversifying the opportunities for public access to the countryside where they would be complementary to existing footways on public land. Walkways have a complimentary role with other outdoor recreation in ROS. The Walkway legislation complements other means of serving the public access into the countryside and does not generally involve high transaction costs or title transfer, and it provides for co-operation and compromise with private landowners.

11. Support a regional approach to public information about walking opportunities where this would enhance the range of information available.

12. When DOC does have not enough money to maintain a walkway to a given standard, it should not be closed, but downgraded to a lower standard. “Friends of Walkways” may have a role in maintaining walkways.

Confirmed pre 2008

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Wild Animals And Weed Control

1. FMC recognises and supports recreational hunting, commercial harvesting and official control operations as management options for wild animal control.

2. Where consistent with land use, recreational hunting should be given priority.

3. Wild animal control plans should set realistic and attainable objectives. There is little point in seeking zero numbers (for example in possum control) with the present state of technology and available resources.

4. FMC should support moves for wild animal management on a species basis rather than on the basis of land units. The present approach is based on parcels of land with little thought for adjacent areas.

5. FMC should pressure Government to increase funding to DOC to allow for better planning and resources for goat and possum control, and for the control of cats, rats, stoats etc.

6. Botanical surveys, or user reconnaissance information, should be used to provide information on the kind and degree of weed populations.

7. Adequate funding should be provided for weed control.

8. Prevention is better than cure so policies to prevent weed spread (including wilding pines) should be encouraged.

Confirmed pre 2008

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Wilderness And Remote Experience Zones

1. Wilderness areas are areas without development or mechanised access (as defined in the Acts).

2. Wilderness areas should be large enough to provide remoteness, solitude, and challenge. Wilderness must cover large wilderness, and also smaller, undeveloped areas which have sometimes been called “remote experience”. The Acts make no distinction between the large and the small, and even allow huts and tracks with the Minister’s discretion. The objective of most wilderness areas should be to provide remoteness, solitude, and challenge, places where nature can be enjoyed on nature’s terms.

3. There should be no huts, tracks or other developed facilities – “Wilderness” is at the opposite end of the ROS spectrum from “popular” where facilities are provided for camping, picnicking and interpretation.

4. Wilderness areas should be bordered by “buffer” areas to protect their remote characteristics from outside interference: eg roads or popular uses.

5. Whether a buffer zone is inside or outside bordering a wilderness should not be a major debate (as it has been in the past). Coherent boundaries to the wilderness itself are more important. The rationale behind this is that detractors may otherwise argue for a large buffer zone and small core, while most FMC people would prefer the reverse.

6. No aircraft should be permitted to land in wilderness areas except for wild animal control (WAC) and search and rescue (SAR). Note that it is not currently possible for DOC to control overflight (except when landings are involved). In future it may be possible to control overflight if overflight regulations are to allow the control of overflight for “any reason in the public interest”

8. FMC, and its supporters, should advocate wilderness and remote experience zones forcefully and with reason wherever it can, as internationally wilderness is a diminishing resource.

9. FMC is working towards the official recognition (gazettal) of the 10 wilderness areas identified at the 1981 Wilderness Conference: to date only 5 have been gazetted.

Confirmed pre 2008

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Wind Power

1. FMC will take no position on schemes located outside FMC’s geographical areas of interest.

2. FMC will take a strong position opposing any new schemes in national, conservation or forest parks or adjacent to them where the effect would be to downgrade the recreational experience of people in the park.

3. Identify other areas where wind farms would be particularly obnoxious.

4. Keep free of development recreational areas close to large population centres. Recognise that this runs counter to the minimisation of line loss.

5. In general, oppose large schemes but bear in mind that, in some circumstances, one large scheme can potentially be less damaging than a series of small ones.

6. In general, favour small schemes over large ones but weigh up the impact carefully in each case.

7. Identify mitigating features –
– Avoiding ridgelines and sites with a significant visible impact on recreationally important sites
– Minimising long-term effects on landscape
– Avoiding or minimising the impact of access roads
– Undergrounding or minimising visual impact of transmission lines

Confirmed June 2009

 

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page updated 01/08/13