Tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for routes

DOC strat­egy to en­sure frag­ile back coun­try wet­land gets pro­tec­tion

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

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.

Photo: MAL­COLM LAN­G­LEY

What: Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion Con­ser­va­tion Man­age­ment Strat­egy for Otago, sec­tion on four-wheel driv­ing

Where: doc.govt.nz/cms

Sub­mis­sions: close Septem­ber 13

Keen wheeling: Four-wheel driv­ing in Oteake Con­ser­va­tion Park in Cen­tral Otago.

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