Twelve successful applicants will receive funding from the new Enhanced Access Fund, New Zealand Walking Access Commission chairman John Acland said today.
He said the projects funded by those grants would boost access to, and knowledge of, New Zealand’s great outdoors.
The Walking Access Act 2008 enables the Commission to provide a fund for projects to enhance walking access in New Zealand. This contestable funding (the Enhanced Access Fund) contributes to the Commission’s goal of free, certain, enduring practical walking access to the outdoors.
“Each project will contribute to creating or improving our diverse and unique New Zealand walkways. This contributes to the Commission’s goal of ensuring walkway access remains free, certain, enduring and practical, or contributes to knowledge, research and education related to walking access in New Zealand.
More than $200,000 has been allocated this financial year and will be spread over the duration of the projects, up to a maximum of three years, following completion of agreed milestones.
John Acland said the Commission’s board members were delighted with the range of the successful projects.
“As can be seen from the list of successful applicants, they cover a spectrum of groups – including Rotary and local councils working with community-based organisations. Six of the projects are in the North Island and six in the South Island, from Russell to Alexandra and include creating or improving walkway access to coastal areas, inland waterways and inland scenic areas.
“Projects funded include the restoration of a walkway to the Kopuawhara Monument, a site of historical significance, in the Wharerata Forest between Napier and Gisborne and the final stage of the Maungatautari Crossing that currently has over 20,000 visitors each year.”
The criteria for the Enhanced Access Fund were:
• to address existing access problems,
• to negotiate retention of existing access or obtain new access; and
• to support community access projects.
The Walking Access Act 2008 provides for the Commission to provide information on access and the behaviour expected in the outdoors, to negotiate new walking access across private land, such as to lakes, rivers and forests, as well as to facilitate the resolution of disputes relating to walking access.
The Commission last month published an Outdoor Access Code which spelt out the need for people to behave properly and to take responsibility for their actions in the outdoors.
“It also asks landholders to continue the traditions of New Zealand, which have seen it as customary for landholders to give access to people wanting to cross their land.
“Generally, landholders have been traditionally happy to extend access to their land. In return, it is expected that recreational users will respect the environment and the requirements of farming life.”
John Acland said rights and privileges of access brought with them responsibilities.
“Our society is increasingly urban, despite our strong rural cultural identity and economic reliance on agricultural products. People may not be aware of rural customs and local practice, or understand the adverse impacts their actions can have.
“We hope this Code will help build and reinforce that understanding.”
John Acland said it was the Commission’s expectation that all projects, and the Commission in all its activities, would be respectful and would both support and uphold the private property rights of landholders and the public’s property rights.
He said many projects required a range of agreement, consents and permissions, including from private land owners –individuals, families, commercial owners as well as local councils and mana whenua.
“It is therefore pleasing to note the many letters of support from the wider community included with applications.
“We look forward to the successful completion of these projects, so that locals and visitors alike can enjoy these walkways and the recreational activities they support and can gain a greater appreciation of New Zealand’s unique natural environment.”
New Zealand Walking Access Commission: Enhanced Access Fund
Successful Projects for 2009/2010
1. Progressive Paparoa Inc - $15,000
Project: Pahi Peninsula Walking Track – Kaipara
To cover the cost of metal and spread it via helicopter on the pines loop walk. The 4.5 kilometre track is stage 1 of a 4 stage walking on Pahi Peninsula and is inaccessible by trucks.
2. Bay of Islands Walking Trust - $50,000
Okiato to Russell Walking Track – Far North
To complete the fourth and final stage of the Okiato to Russell Walking Track from Orongo Bay to Russell township. The 2.4 kilometre footpath would follow road reserve alongside the busy Russell to Whakapara Road. With increasing numbers using the walkway there is a keenness to provide off road access.
3. Ngati Koroki Kahukura Trust - $50,000
Maungatautari Crossing – Waipa
To complete the last 4.5 kilometres, of a 12 kilometre walkway, across the Maungatautari Scenic Reserve. As mana whenua of the ‘island’ Ngati Koroki Kahukura are keen to see the walkway completed to the same standard as the first two thirds of the track which was completed by the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust.
4. Gisborne Canoe Club and Tramping Club - $5,600
Restore access to Kopuawhara Monument within Wharerata Forest, between Gisborne and Napier.
To restore a ‘there and back’ natural surface walking track to the Kopuawhara Monument in Wharerata Forest by following remnants of the old railway construction road and constructing some new track along and over Waiau Stream. The easy gradient makes it suitable for family groups and fit elderly, many of whom in the region have a family interest in the historic site.
5. Te Iwi o Rakaipaaka Inc - $9,281
Te Whaiora o Te Wai Repo Nuhaka (Nuhaka Village Wetland and Restoration Walking Project) – Wairoa
To develop a new walkway within the Nuhaka village that links access between local communities serving high elderly and young population, two rural schools and ten marae. There are no walkways in Nuhaka to enable residents to enjoy the rivers, swamp areas, natural and cultural resources. The only walking access is along SH2 and the road into Mahia Peninsula. The development of the walkway is concurrently linked to the successful restoration of the Nuhaka village wetland.
6. Porirua City Council and Plimmerton Rotary Club - $15,000 over three years
Pauatahanui Inlet Pathway (Te Ara Piko) – Porirua
To complete stage 4 of the Pauatahanui Inlet pathway covering a distance of 1.1 kilometres. The access location is part of an area listed by Porirua Council’s Inventory of Ecological sites and also connects to the nationally important Pauatahanui Wildlife Management Reserve.
7. New Zealand Fish and Game - $27,000 over three years
Upper South Island river and lagoon access – Marlborough/Nelson
To improve access tracks to Wairau, Buller, Motueka, Pelorus and Golden Bay rivers in response to wider public demand rather than supporting anglers and hunters only. The proposal also includes improving Wairau Lagoon access from four-wheel drive to two-drive during the summer months.
8. New Zealand Fish and Game - $15,000 over three years
Upper South Island river access information and signage – Marlborough/Nelson
To respond to wider public demand for information about Wairau, Buller, Motueka, Pelorus and Golden Bay river access by improving signage and incorporating other recreational information into access pamphlets.
9. Tasman Area Community Association - $7,500
Ruby Coast Walkway (Dicker Rd/Williams Rd) – Tasman Bay
To renew access to Dicker Rd (a legal unformed road) and connect it to Williams Rd (also a legal unformed road) and ultimately Hortons Rd to create a 7 Kilometre loop road. Both paper roads need upgrading to walkway quality. The loop will link to other planned (and existing) walkways that are now possible as the Ruby Bay bypass is nears completion.
10. Te Araroa Trust - $5,000
Lake Hill Track – Selwyn, Canterbury
To develop a natural surface track alongside Lake Coleridge between Intake Road and Homestead road on unformed legal road to replace a 7 kilometre road walk on the Long Pathway. The track would provide new access to a pleasant beach close to the village.
11. Te Araroa Trust - $21,785
Dalton’s Track – Marlborough
To develop a 6.4 kilometre natural surface track parallel to the Pelorus River between the Circle Track and Dalton’s Bridge. It will emerge close to the Pelorus camping ground and café and connect with existing Department of Conservation tracks.
12. Makarora Valley Community Inc $3,600 over two years
Makarora River Walk – Queenstown Lakes District
To formalise a continuous clearly marked, 10 kilometre track along the river, to enable residents and visitors, to enjoy the valley without walking along a busy road. It will provide off road access for local residents, day visitors and trampers accessing the Mt Aspiring national park.