Updated: Jul 12
New Zealand has an array of beautiful protected natural and heritage sites for the masses to enjoy, but unfortunately recent bad behaviour from visitors has left a bad taste in peoples mouths. Department of Conservation (DOC) rangers and visitors to DOC sites are complaining of poor behaviour at protected natural and heritage sites, with dozens of rangers saying litter and human waste are an issue, and nearly a third of visitors reporting damage inflicted by others.
There has been damage to facilities, infrastructure such as signs and trails, harm to native plants and animals, crowding, and overall negative behaviour which is causing some visitors experience to be affected.
Overuse of the front country areas like the day walks and huts may be a consequence of the reduced amount of backcountry options, as many areas are still closed due to severe weather experienced throughout 2021 and 2022.
While there were fewer Kiwis on New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks last summer, numbers were up overall thanks to the return of international visitors, DOC said. In total, 47,380 people went on a Great Walk last summer, an 18% increase on the previous summer. Of those, 31,880 were Kiwis and 15,500 international visitors.
Hopefully, this bad behaviour subsides for the 23/24 season.
For the original story by Lorna Thornber click here.