Introduction

A proposal to zone Canterbury’s public conservation land for different levels of aircraft access has been released for public comment by the Department of Conservation today.

Date:  29 July 2009

A proposal to zone Canterbury’s public conservation land for different levels of aircraft access has been released for public comment by the Department of Conservation today. 

The ‘Draft Guidelines for Aircraft Access - Canterbury Conservancy’ introduces a spectrum of aircraft use, from ‘restricted’ to ‘frequent’ zones. 

“The restricted zone provides for areas to have high levels of natural quiet, which those seeking a true backcountry experience have said they value most,” said Mike Cuddihy, Conservator for Canterbury. 

“The frequent zone provides for ‘open’ aircraft access, within the conditions of concession permits. Other zones proposed include ‘limited’ to provide for modest levels, or ‘seasonally-frequent’ zones to allow for winter-based activities like heli-hunting and heli-skiing,” he said. 

“We want to hear your views on whether all the zones are needed, whether the rules around them make sense and whether we have got it right for your particular interests.” 

This zoning concept has been applied in a paper discussing options for future management of St James Conservation Area, also released today for public comment. 

“The zones we recommend for St James are one example of how this approach could guide our management of public conservation land.  We would like public feedback on a proposal to put a restricted zone over the Spenser Mountains, north from Mt Una and east from Fowlers Pass to the Clarence River.” 

The zoning of conservation land for aircraft use is linked to the statutory requirements of existing park management plans and will eventually be incorporated into the Canterbury Conservation Management Strategy (CMS), which is currently under review. 

“The CMS review process will change the nature of this document from ‘guidelines’ to a statutory framework, which is why we want to get your views now, so we can get it right,” said Mr Cuddihy. 

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