Lou Sanson says ‘Thanks Legends’

A message from Lou Sanson, Director General of the Department of Conservation to all of you who have been helping out on the DoC estate as part of the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund (CCPF) work…

To the legends who are helping maintain or enhance our back country recreation opportunities

I am writing this letter to thank all of you who have undertaken volunteer work on recreation facilities this summer.

Trampers, hunters, mountain bikers, horse riders, four wheel drivers and many others – you’ve all been busy this summer, working hard, giving your own time to help look after public recreation facilities on conservation lands. I thank you for your passion, time and effort assisting us to look after our wonderful back country.

I am proud that so many New Zealanders stepped forward to look after the places they cherish.

If you are one of these people, you are to be congratulated on your role because this work is more than what my Department could have done on its own. Together we have significantly grown the amount of maintenance done in the backcountry.

I know that many of you will have worked through the New Zealand Recreation Consortium, made up of Federated Mountain Clubs, the New Zealand Deer Stalkers Association and Trail Fund who so willingly stepped up and did a huge amount of work to represent all outdoor recreation groups. I am thrilled that this mechanism has enabled so much work to be done – long may this continue.

From a relationship perspective I also think we have also come a long way, we have acknowledged our differences, but more importantly we are now focused on what we all believe is important. The Recreation Consortium funding enables us – DOC and backcountry users – to come together in a meaningful and practical way. In the last 10 months the Recreation Consortium has funded 80 projects involving 49 huts, 45 tracks, 30 gun safes, clearing helicopter pads and installing horse paddocks – a truly impressive list of projects.

Just a few examples of the great work done includes the Kaimai Ridgeway project with volunteers led by the Auckland Tramping Club and allied clubs who are assuming responsibility for significant track maintenance in the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park; or mountain bikers working on the Missing Link Track in Queenstown a dual-use trail linking Fernhill MTB trails and Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve; or the Nelson Tramping Club’s work on Flora Hut in Nelson, the Green Hut group in Dunedin, horse riders putting in horse paddocks near huts in the St James Conservation Area, ex Forest Service staff and cullers working on huts in the lower North Island and hunters installing 30 trial gun racks in huts across the country.

For my Department allocating $700,000 to the Consortium to undertake maintenance work was a risk. However, groups like Permolat and mountain bikers in Craigieburn and hunters in the Ruahine ranges proved to us that backcountry users are extremely passionate about the facilities that allow them to access New Zealand’s great outdoors – so much so that they are motivated and willing to volunteer their time to help look after these assets. You have all proven that this one of the best investments we have ever made in conservation.

Now that this system has proven itself the community appetite for this work appears to be expanding. Last week the New Zealand Recreation Consortium lodged a substantive expression of interest into the Community Conservation Partnership Fund. I hope that what we have achieved together in the last 10 months will become the basis for an on-going relationship.

In the future many New Zealanders will have the chance to benefit from and appreciate the great work you have done. Thank you for helping look after our back country and our heritage.


Lou Sanson

Director-General of Conservation