Federated Mountains Clubs President, Robin McNeill, is delighted by the announcement of the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund announced today by Minister of Conservation, Dr Nick Smith.
“Many of our 17,000 members willingly give up their spare time to do hut and track maintenance. There are others who would like to help, given the chance. But there is only so much useful work volunteers can do without hard cash for materials, helicopter transport and logistics support. The Community Conservation Partnerships Fund will go a long way to bridge the shortfall”, said Mr McNeill.
“One could argue that DOC staff should maintain all their huts and tracks, but frankly, trampers and hunters find it extremely satisfying to put something back into the huts and tracks they have enjoyed using. It can be a lot of fun.”
In conjunction with two allied national outdoor recreational groups, FMC intends to prepare a substantial bid to the fund on behalf of all New Zealand backcountry recreationalists.
Mr McNeill says that it is possible that the fund could also be used to build new, low-cost bivvies (small huts) and tracks in remote back country areas. “We all know somewhere that needs a bivvy. Let’s see how the money pans out.”