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Mike Davies: Aoraki – Mount Cook National Park Plan

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Day 3 - Presented to Sustainable Summits 2016
Mike Davies: Aoraki – Mount Cook National Park Plan

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Mike Davies: Aoraki – Mount Cook National Park Plan

  1. 1. Managing a mountain park in a dynamic context
  2. 2. 2 Natural / Human History of Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park – an overview Welcome to Aoraki/Mt Cook • Managing a mountain park in a dynamic context – A sustainability story around this context • Themes • Places • Our critical issues
  3. 3. 3 The story • Gangkhar Puensum – 7570 m (24,836 ft) – Highest unclimbed mountain in the world – Himalayas in Bhutan near the border with China – Climbing of mountains higher than 6000 m prohibited since 1994 • Spiritual significance of mountains and the role that plays in management. Many things to many people. • A mountain holiday. Take visitors away from their normal lives. Achieving DOC Vision and in particular NZers and our visitors are enriched by outdoor experiences • Defines how we will manage this place into the future. Can DOC be more agile to keep up in an ever changing world – the dynamic context
  4. 4. 4 Themes Associations with this place through time • Spiritual – Ngai Tahu – Climbers – Visitors • Historical – Ngai Tahu – Pastoralism – Tourism • Management – Conservation – Ngai Tahu Deed of Settlement • Geological/Glacial
  5. 5. 5 Ngai Tahu • Aoraki most sacred of ancestors • Provides sense of communal identify, solidarity and purpose • Significant to their creation story and spiritual association • Topuni - a cloak of protection over Aoraki. • Defines their deep spiritual association with this place
  6. 6. 6 Geological/glacial theme • 80,000 million years ago – Gondwanaland – Alpine fault – Glaciers – Erosion • Defines today’s access/opportunities and values
  7. 7. 7 Historic theme – pastoralism to tourism • 1840 – Treaty of Waitangi • 1848 – Kemp Purchase • 1858 – Glentanner Run • 1865 – Birch Hill Run • 1884 – First ranger and Hermitage
  8. 8. 8 Historic theme - tourism • 1882 – Climbing begins • 1886 – First passenger service • 1890 – Ball Hut • 1894: – Aoraki /Mt Cook climbed • 1895 – Government buys Hermitage
  9. 9. 9 Historic theme – tourism to management • 1930 – First plane landing • 1953 – Park formed • 1955 – First ski plane landings • 1987 – DOC created • 1986/1990 – Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site • 1998 – Ngai Tahu Deed of Settlement • 2016 – Management Plan review • Defines today’s critical issues for management
  10. 10. 10 Facts • 70,000ha - 25 summits over 3000m - Aoraki/Mt Cook- 3754m – climbing proving ground • Estimated over 500,000 visitors/annum • $2.6 million expenditure • $1.55 million revenue plus concession revenue • $15 million capital investment since 2010
  11. 11. 11 Places – defined by access
  12. 12. 12 Places Places Accessibility Demand Impacts High alpine Low and decreasing Static tending to decline Managed but need for greater efficiency /new approaches Subalpine Medium and increasing High and growing Holding the line. Need new approaches Village High High and growing Holding the line. Need new approaches
  13. 13. 13 High alpine and Village places
  14. 14. 14 Village place Places Accessibility Demand Impacts Village High High and growing Holding the line. Need new approaches • Village = no skills required • Gateway to the Park. Exceed 500,000 visitors/annum . Approx 15% growth • Village short walks • Visitor Centre – 125,000/annum. Cost $372,000 Revenue $350,000. Managing visitor information and mitigating risk • Visitor accommodation = 1400/night. Over 90% occupancy during peak. Reduction in shoulder season. Staff = 300 • Local body operation. Infrastructure services. – Cost $860,000 Revenue $860,000 – DOC contribution approx 9% ($70,000) Major contribution AMCAVL 77% – Solid waste = 36% of the cost. Increase of 10% on last year.
  15. 15. 15 Village place Places Accessibility Demand Impacts Village High High and growing Holding the line. Need new approaches • Visitor growth = increasing pressure on infrastructure services • Increased demand for visitor and staff accommodation • Increased pressure on car parking. Large campervans • More demand for concessions – tourism business opportunities
  16. 16. 16 High alpine place Places Accessibility Demand Impacts High alpine Low and decreasing Static tending to decline Managed but need for greater efficiency /new approaches • High alpine - Alpine skills required • Alpine Huts - Cost $120,800 Revenue $80,000 – 8 DOC range from Kelman (22) 1086 bednights/annum to Empress (12) - 9 – NZAC Murchison (193) – Lost Gardiner Hut - 53 to rock avalanche – Near miss Plateau Hut (30) - 815. Cost $900,000 in 2004 • Search and Rescue programme - $193,000. Changing season and responses • Alpine Huts – static to decreasing demand and high costs – over 80% helicopter costs for gas/waste management. Need for greater efficiency or new approaches in waste management. Compliance costs.
  17. 17. 17 Subalpine place
  18. 18. 18 Sub alpine place Places Accessibility Demand Impacts Sub alpine Medium and increasing High and growing Holding the line. Need new approaches • Sub alpine area - lesser skills required • Destination Huts – Mueller (30) – 3113 bed nights/annum. Cost $59,000 Revenue $112,000. Cost $700,000 in 2004 – Ball Shelter (4) - 398. Cost $90,000 in 2010 • Hunters/Climbers Huts – low use/low return – Liebig (DOC) – 22. Godley (NZAC)/Onslow (NZDA) • Campground - 26,000 Revenue $245,000 • Hooker Track - 72,000. Developed to manage visitor risk. Cost $1.8 million to develop • Sealing Tasman Valley Road. Cost $2.2 million to develop • Mueller Hut/Campground/Hooker track – increasing demand = increased revenue and cost. Big pressure on waste management. New approaches to management
  19. 19. 19 Major critical issues for the future • In the context of the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park Management Plan review and the differing values that it holds the two major critical issues for management are likely to be: – How to respond to climate change and its consequences for maintaining opportunities and facilities for recreation, and – How to manage the projected increase in visitor numbers and the demands this will place on the Park and those facilities
  20. 20. 20 Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park Management Plan review • Role of plan as: – resolution of conflicts between protection of values and use of area – guidance for the assessment of concessions applications – providing a monitoring framework for implementation, reporting and review of policies and outcomes – working document to guide decision making for operations management
  21. 21. 21 Specific critical issues • How to review management of Aoraki/Mount Cook that recognizes the values that people have for this place? • How to manage in an era of climate change that is bringing about rapid change in the alpine environment? • How to make wise investment decisions that reflect demand and in a context of competing demands/values? • How to enrich visitors outdoor experiences by addressing quality and safety? • How to be more agile in our operations to respond to changing trends? • How to maximise revenue opportunities based on the visitor growth being experienced? • What if visitor numbers exceed our ability to provide facilities? • How to manage visitor growth with the increased pressure on existing infrastructure and services? • How to manage existing and new concession applications in a context of visitor growth? • How to fund increased operating costs incurred in managing increased use? • How to communicate critical visitor and safety information to visitors in a social media dominated environment?
  22. 22. 22 Summary • The story about this place and it management issues in a context of the different values to different people • How does Ngai Tahu and DOC write a plan for this place • How can you contribute and help to shape this plan
  23. 23. 23 Questions?

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