Kahurangi National Park Management Plan Partial Review
The completion of the partial review of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan and its formal approval by the New Zealand Conservation Authority in December 2010 was a highlight. Considerable work had been involved in hearings and discussions during the previous year. Ross Hall and past Board members Philip Simpson, Judy Hellstrom and Tracey Osborne were actively involved. Members of the Board put considerable work into defining the key principles guiding their thinking on the partial review and this will be useful when the full review of the plan happens in future. The Board wishes to acknowledge the constructive and useful role NZCA played during the review process.
Mountain biking in National Parks
The reviewed Kahurangi plan makes provision for mountain biking to be trialled on three park tracks, including the Heaphy Track during the five month winter season. The first day of the trial was officially marked with a function and on the opening day about 40 mountain bikers set off to ride the Heaphy Track. Seven hundred bikers rode the track during May 2011.
In March 2011 the Board received advice about the two season mountain biking trial at Gibbs Hill, which is an inland track originally developed as a fire break within the Abel Tasman National Park. As there were no damaging effects apparent, the Board agreed that mountain biking could continue.
Review of the Conservation Management Strategy
Board members discussed the proposed new approach and format in July 2010 and made detailed comments to the Department of Conservation’s National Office. In general, members considered the structure an improvement on the current model but sought improvements to reflect the Treaty partnership more accurately. Members also noted the need for any measurement processes in the new CMSs to be flexible enough to allow for changed circumstances over time.
Several members of the Board attended a workshop on the new framework for Conservation Management Strategies with National Office and Conservancy DOC staff. There was also a Board workshop in May with Conservancy planning staff which focused on identifying values and issues and also tested out methods for later public consultation.
Philip Simpson presented the last of his four papers on landscape ecology to the Board in September 2010 and the Board commended the approach put forward as a useful integrative philosophy for developing the new Conservation Management Strategies. Copies of Philip’s four papers have been made available to other Boards on request.
Members acknowledged the passing of Aunty Kath Hemi, a former Board member and an influential person who had been an active supporter of the Department’s work in the Nelson Lakes Area. Bob McDowall, the Board’s liaison person from the New Zealand Conservation Authority also died during the year. Members recalled his generosity in sharing his extensive knowledge with others and his passion for conservation.
Progress with plans
There is a draft management plan in an advanced stage developed with input from Board members, but work was put on hold due to the need to agree upon wording which fairly reflected iwi customary interests in the area. This is a matter which is affected by Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiations and is, therefore, outside the control of Board members and the Molesworth Management Committee. The Board hopes that agreement can be reached with iwi and the plan put out for consultation with the public.
The Board considered implementation reports on the Abel Tasman National Park Management plan and for Nelson Lakes National Park during the year. In general members were impressed with the range and volume of work carried out by staff and local communities in these areas.
Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve Management Plan
Work on the draft plan continued during the year. The arrangement for considering and approving the plan is a unique one arising out of the administration of the reserve by both Tasman District Council and the Department of Conservation and strong local interests. The draft plan is expected to be publicly notified in July 2011.
Additions to National Parks
There were no additions to National Parks this year, but the Board revisited last year’s decision to support a proposed land exchange to address an encroachment by a private landowner at Anchorage into the Abel Tasman National Park. A minor amendment to the boundary was agreed upon to address a neighbouring landowner’s concerns.
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