|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation traces the history of the development of recreation walkways and tracks and changing use patterns and user groups in New Zealand's protected natural areas. The manner in which these facilities were developed and maintained over time is discussed in the context of the present day needs of users and the administrative and management responsibilities of administering agencies. A methodology for planning the development of projects, criteria for and standards of development and the implementation of developments is discussed. An example of the project planning and implementation for the construction of the Kauaeranga Kauri Trails (which is presently under construction) to a Great Walk Standard is presented to illustrate the practical application of this methodology.
In the late 1800's outdoor recreation was the prerogative of a small elite, and was probably viewed by the masses as unnecessary, strange and an inappropriate use of time (Devlin,1993:96). Since this time the development of the use of the outdoors for recreation has seen a virtual explosion. From the concept of establishment of New Zealand's first national park, the principles and purposes for which these lands are protected have developed in tandem with society's aspirations. Ideals of protection for cultural, spiritual, ecological, educational, scientific, community and public enjoyment are all encompassed in the protected natural areas represented across the nation today.
As the numbers of recreationists enjoying these protected lands has grown, so has the need to ensure that the very values we attempt to protect are not compromised by their over zealous use. This is now perhaps the greatest problem facing resource managers.
Historically, much of the development of tramping tracks and routes throughout protected natural areas in New Zealand has been to facilitate access for hunters and deer cullers. Following the decline in wild animal numbers, many of these developed facilities were used for recreation purposes with the further development of these and new facilities to provide further recreation opportunities for recreationists seeking backcountry walking experiences. With increasing demands being placed on the allocation of resources for both conservation and the provision of recreation opportunities in protected natural areas, it is essential to ensure that monies committed to maintenance and development of recreation opportunities provide the experiences that visitors are seeking and are constructed in such a way that maximises their present benefit and provides a facility that minimises ongoing maintenance requirements.
These guidelines are therefore presented to provide a comprehensive and holistic methodology for planning, and designing walking and tramping tracks in an attempt to ensure that both the financial and social conditions are maximised. The guidelines provide design criteria for the construction of walking and tramping tracks on conservation lands in New Zealand. While some regional differences will need to exist in terms of construction techniques the basic principles of track engineering remain largely the same across the country.
The planning for and the construction of walking tracks requires a sound knowledge of resource management, earth sciences, hydrology, engineering, landscape design, botany, visitor requirements; as well as the skills required to co-ordinate this process through to construction. These guidelines work through the steps in both the planning and construction phases, providing criteria for assessment and practical design options. Rigorous planning will always be rewarded in the operational stages of the project.||en