Management of private land sections of Queen Charlotte Track
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionThe Department of Conservation is in discussions with owners of private land crossed by the Queen Charlotte Track about the landowners’ proposal to charge a user access fee.
Date: 24 March 2010
The Department of Conservation is in discussions with owners of private land crossed by the Queen Charlotte Track and other interested parties about the landowners’ proposal to charge a user access fee for the track over their land from 1 July this year.
In total, just over 14km of the 71 km track (around 21 per cent) crosses private land. It involves 10 private landowners with properties between Camp Bay and Anakiwa.
DOC Sounds Area Manager Roy Grose said a priority for the department was assurance long term public access to the entire track would continue which landowners were looking to provide as part of their proposals for management of the track on their land.
“Queen Charlotte Track is managed by the Department of Conservation in partnership with the owners of the private land it crosses. As partners, we are working through with them the details of their proposals to endeavour to reach agreement on a workable arrangement.
“We have been having constructive discussions with landowners on this partnership arrangement and appreciate it is in everyone’s interest to have the certainty of continued public access it provides which has not been in place before.
“We welcome the fact that as part of the landowners’ proposals they intend to provide assurance of continued public access to the track for a minimum of 10 years through the Queen Charlotte Track Land Cooperative (QCTLC) they have formed.
“We acknowledge Queen Charlotte Track access over private land has been possible for many years due to the goodwill of the landowners. We also recognise the landowners’ wish to be compensated for use of their land and that there are costs and other impacts incurred by them due to the public accessing their land, such as liability insurance.
“We have worked with them for some time on options for this. Their preference is for a track access fee and we respect their rights as landowners to make decisions in relation to use of their land.
“We are also discussing their proposals with other parties with an interest in the track, including the Marlborough District Council, concessionaires and Queen Charlotte Track Incorporated, representing tourist operators and accommodation providers who derive business from people walking and biking the track.
“We need to be confident the proposed arrangement would be workable from their perspectives and that the track will continue to provide a good recreational experience for the public.
“We are mindful the importance of the track to the Marlborough economy through the New Zealand and overseas visitors it draws to the region.
“Another key consideration for us is ensuring there will be a consistent track standard along the track’s entire length. It has been agreed in principle with the QCTLC that the department would continue to maintain the entire track with a portion of the proposed track pass fee being provided to cover the costs of maintaining private land sections.”
Around 24,000 walking or mountain bike trips are made on the track each year of which around 18,000 are only on parts of the track.