Ranger to return

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Following the success of the responsible camping ranger scheme trialled last year in the Catlins, campers there will again have a dedicated ranger on hand to help them find appropriate places to camp this summer.

The joint Department of Conservation, Clutha District Council, Southland District Council and Catlins community initiative will return for a second summer, with a view to continuing it in the foreseeable future.

Scott Martin, of Papatowai, will again patrol popular tourist spots armed with pamphlets and educational resources encouraging people to camp responsibly.

Doc senior ranger Brent Affleck said the Owaka-based role was a dedicated position to help actively manage the increasing visitor pressure on coastal amenities in the Catlins.

area that has become increasingly popular with visitors. Our challenge is to manage any impact increased visitation numbers may bring to the region, while still providing the opportunity for visitors to experience the unique landscapes, wildlife and history the Catlins has to offer,” he said.

The role took an education, rather than infringement, approach, and would also provide valuable feedback to Doc on the impact of tourism on this wonderful part of New Zealand, he said.

“Data gathered from last year’s trial has proved very effective in creating an overview of the habits of the campers passing through the region.”

Clutha District Council planning and regulatory group manager David Campbell said the council was pleased with the trial ranger role last season and supported extending the season to start earlier this summer.

“Community feedback has been really positive and the council has agreed in the long-term plan 2018-2028 to contribute funding for this.”

The council’s next step was to review the camping bylaw and look at areas where infrastructure could be provided.

An addition to Mr Martin’s role this year is dog control educational duties, aimed at improving compliance with local dog control rules in Curio Bay.