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.