The Pureora Timber Trail and Ruakuri Walk at Waitomo were celebrated recently for receiving the internationally-recognised Green Flag award, which marks good quality public parks and green spaces that are managed in environmentally sustainable ways.
“This award is yet another draw card to the local region to show that we’re flying high” remarked Mayor Brian Hanna of the Waitomo District Council. Jumping on bikes after the ceremony for a quick taster of the Timber Trail were representatives from across the Central North Island councils and recreational tourism industry.
“The Green Flag will encourage more New Zealanders to experience our local conservation visitor destinations, which is an important driver behind the Department of Conservation’s work” said Kay Booth, Deputy Director General of Partnerships, who presented the awards to the local department’s services team, who put in the hard ground work.
The Timber Trail was chosen for the award for its combination of the beauty of nature, the use of historic infrastructure and that its appeal to young and old alike. A sustainability tick for the trail was the use of environmentally-friendly ink on the signage.
The Ruakuri Walk was remarked upon for conserving the natural, historic and cultural integrity of the track. The quick 1 km walk reveals karst landscapes and glow worm caves.
The Green Flag Scheme is picking up momentum internationally, with a number of New Zealand parks such as the Redwoods Forest in Rotorua and other DOC sites such as the Whanganui River Journey, and Lake Matheson on the West Coast, South Island receiving Green Flags. Local and regional councils and the Department of Conservation are encouraged to apply through the parks forum.
DOC staff, iwi and local council celebrate the Green Flag awards for the Pureora Timber Trail and the Waitomo Ruakuri Walk