Taking responsibility for routes
DOC strategy to ensure fragile back country wetland gets protection
Four-wheel drive enthusiasts are being asked to have their say on their hobby. The Department of Conservation has released a draft 10-year Conservation Management Strategy for Otago which includes a section on four-wheel driving. It highlights areas available for four-wheel driving including the Oteake Conservation Park in Central Otago, Macetown and Skippers near Queenstown and Te Papanui, near Dunedin. Near Wanaka, four-wheel driving occurred in the Pisa Conservation Area with access by permit after vehicles damaged sensitive wetland areas on top of Pisa Range. Wanaka Area office manager Paul Hellebrekers said the biggest problem was ensuring drivers on all conservation land stayed on roads so as to protect fragile high country terrain. Wakatipu Area manager Greg Lind said Macetown had experienced major problems with fourwheel drivers going off-road and causing major degradation in wetland areas. The problem had been reduced using signs, fencing, prosecutions and working with neighbouring landowners. In the Skippers area the department and Shotover 4WD club members were developing an agreement formalising how the club could keep using the route into Skippers Creek in exchange for maintaining the route. ‘‘This is a gnarly route with lots of steep inclines popular with drivers as it allows them to push their drive training and experience to the limit,’’ Mr Lind said. The department is also urging four-wheel drive and motorbike clubs to adopt a track and people should talk to the department about ideas for good routes.
What: Department of Conservation Conservation Management Strategy for Otago, section on four-wheel driving
Submissions: close September 13
Keen wheeling: Four-wheel driving in Oteake Conservation Park in Central Otago.