DoC wins economic prize

September 9, 2010

DoC has won two awards from the international Parks Forum.

The department’s role in  in establishing and developing the Otago Central Rail Trail won it the Forum’s ‘Economic Award’ at a conference in Sydney.

“The Otago Central Rail Trail is a great example of how investing in conservation programmes results in a real economic spin off for the whole community,” says Kevin O’Connor, General Manager of Research and Development for DOC.

DOC, together with the Otago Central Rail Trail Charitable Trust community, developed the Rail Trail 10 years ago. A recent study indicates about 20,000 cyclists use the trail a year and it contributes more than $7 million per annum to the Central Otago community.

“By stepping out with the community we’ve helped turn a disused rail line into a popular bike trail – we’ve conserved a community asset and also added real economic value to many local businesses and communities along the way”

Mr O’Connor said the Rail Trail project shows the potential of positive partnerships with local businesses and reinforces the importance of DOC’s recent move to set up a Commercial Business

It is indeed good to see that conservation can bring economic benefits.

The award also confirms the potential boost to local communities and the wider economy which could come from the national Cycle Trail Project.

DOC also won recognition from the Parks Forum conference for its large scale pest eradication project launched last year on Auckland’s Rangitoto and Motutapu islands.

Alps to Ocean cycle trail’s a goer

July 6, 2010

The Alps to Ocean cycle trail from Mount Cook to Oamaru harbour is one of eight new cycleway projects approved for funding under the New Zealand Cycle Trail project.

In a media rlease, acting Tourism Minister Jonathan Coleman said the $18.85 million investment in the eight new trails will provide a significant economic boost to the communities involved.

“These trails will showcase the very best that New Zealand has to offer in terms of our landscapes, culture and communities. They will be a key draw-card for both international and domestic visitors, and add a further dimension to our vibrant tourism sector,” Dr Coleman said.

“I am delighted that construction will be underway on these trails this summer, and I look forward to them becoming part of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail.”

The other trails are in Opotiki/Gisborne, Taupo, Hawke’s Bay, Nelson/Tasman, Westport, Queenstown and Clutha.

All had to complete extensive feasibility studies before applying for funding.

This announcement follows the evaluation of feasibility studies submitted to the Ministry of Tourism in May. Due to the diligent work of the applicants, funding for these trails has been confirmed four months ahead of schedule enabling construction to begin as soon as possible.

The Ocean to Alps trail will take cyclists 314 kilometres, descending 780 metres with a prevailing tail wind.

The trail starts near Mount Cook, passes Lakes Pukaki, Ruataniwha, Ohau, Benmore and Aviemore and the towns of Twizel, Omarama, Otematata, Kurow and Duntroon.

  It then goes south east following the Fossil Trail through the Waiarreka Valley into Oamaru and the port.

The latter part of the trail goes through an area few people visit now and will introduce cyclists to the beauty of North Otago’s downlands.

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